RIPON — Trailing two sets to none Tuesday night, Ripon Christian mounted a valiant comeback in the third but came up short as visiting Golden Sierra swept the Knights 25-17, 25-17, 25-16 in opening-round action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V volleyball playoffs.
“Right out of the gate we had a tough time,” Ripon Christian assistant coach Kara Ledeboer said. “Particularly with serve receive and setting up our offense. We couldn’t quite get in a groove, find our rhythm, pass the ball and therefore we couldn’t hit the ball.”
In the third game the Knights (17-15) were down 10-3 when three consecutive kills by Paige Vos and back-to-back aces by Bailey Silveira brought Ripon within 10-8. That was as close as the Knights would come the rest of the way.
“(Head) coach (Tiger Shelton) was telling them in that third game to give them a show,” Ledeboer said. “He told them, ‘We came here to play volleyball, so let’s play volleyball.’ And I think that kind of pumped them up and the crowd got into it.
“Julia (Ray) had a big overkill and Paige (Vos) had a couple of nice kills as well that kind of got a momentum back for a while. We were playing our volleyball, but unfortunately in very short increments. Vos was our go-to person tonight. She played well – she didn’t play the best game of her life but she carried the team offensively.”
Vos had 14 kills – double the amount of any player on either team.
“We knew the end was in sight,” Vos said of that third set. “It was amazing the way we played so hard.
“When it comes down to that you have to push hard and finish up because it is the love for the team that gets us through.”
Ray had four kills, two blocks and an ace.
“I don’t know what happened in those first two games,” Ray said. “We came back and decided to pick ourselves up in the third game and start playing volleyball instead of playing for the win.”
In addition to superlative defense, the Grizzlies (16-10) hammered out 15 aces.
“We really have concentrated throughout the season on our serving,” Golden Sierra coach Justin Cox said. “We really push ourselves to serve as tough as we can to get the other team out of system.”
The Grizzlies had one error from the field and two service errors in the first set as opposed to eight errors for the Knights in the first set.
“The girls got over their butterflies really quick,” Cox Said.
Hana Oshima had 12 digs for Ripon Christian. Carly Eastham added four kills, two aces and two blocks and Hailey Van Laar had nine assists.