By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Indians one win away from section title
Bear River opens strong, but Ripon too much
Ripon High’s Kelsey Johnston gets up over the net for a block Tuesday during the Indians’ 3-0 sweep of Bear River. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
RIPON – The Ripon High volleyball program has been here in each of the past four seasons, and nothing changed in this year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV semifinal, as the Indians ousted Bear River High to advance to the section final against Golden Sierra Thursday at UC Davis.

Ripon (33-6) shrugged off a resilient Bruins club in the first game to roll to a 25-20, 25-15 and 25-13 win over the tournament’s No. 13 seed. Bear River did not look the part of a 13 seed early, looking like a group that had previously knocked off the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds in succession.

Bear River (29-14) opened with a 3-1lead before Ripon got going, and then battled the Indians throughout an intense game one. Ripon turned to its dominant front row of hitters to distance itself from the Bruins, depending mostly on the powerful play of its two senior hitters.

“I think we came out a little surprised with their blocking,” Ripon’s Coryn Hernandez said. “After we saw the blocking we were able to adjust to the blocks and hit our spots.

“We really did come out swinging.”

Hernandez and teammate Cheyann DePrue would not let up on the Bruins, smashing every opportunity they got with more and more velocity. The Indians were led by Hernandez and DePrue who had 19 and 18 kills, respectively. Johnston turned in a match-high 47 assists, while senior Paulina Ceja recorded 23 digs to pace the club. Paige Burrell also pulled out 19 digs, while DePrue snatched out 13.

Bear River was able to make the play a few times, pulling out miraculous digs, but over the long haul, Ripon proved to be too deep and too talented to be denied another section final berth.

“Part of what our game plan was, was to try and stop their two senior hitters,” Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald said. “We wanted to shut down Cheyann and Coryn, so we really just tried to key on them and I think in the first game we played pretty well.

“It may be the best we have blocked all year, but their such a great defensive team; it’s just their year.”

Bear River’s effort in the first game likely brought out Ripon’s best performance the rest of the way, jumping to double-digit leads in both the second and third games. The Indians were able to end the match, and Bear River’s season, with an emphatic kill from DePrue to usher the squad back to UC Davis.

Ripon’s championship deciding match with No. 2 Golden Sierra will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday.

“All we have to do is play like we did today,” Ripon head coach Larry Keethe said. “We just have to play with confidence, that’s all we have to do.

“Because we’re going to be the better team, no matter who we play.”