RIPON — Ripon went on scoring runs at the right times Thursday against Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in a CIF State Northern California Regional Championships quarterfinal.
In all three games of the No. 4 Indians’ 25-13, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of the 12th-seeded Wolves from Rocklin, they went on huge runs — 14-0, 10-1 and 10-3 — that allowed them to pull away safely in each set.
“Our kids are really good at getting in the other team’s head,” Indians coach Tyler White said. “I think a lot of that has to do with their energy and their communication on the court — they’re really silly at times. I tell them before every game that their energy and that mentality on the court can shut down any team.
“Not only does their physical skill do it but the fact they are having fun and when the other team sees them having fun and enjoying themselves can have a huge mental impact.”
There was nothing silly about the serving of Ripon’s Brooke Kaiser in the first set. She stepped to the service line with the Indians (24-11) leading 13-10 and did not step away for 11 consecutive points, nailing five of her six aces in that run.
“I love getting aces for the team because they are just easy points,” Kaiser said. “And that helps the energy on the team and keeps us up.”
Indians setter Rachel Sausedo (26 assists, 10 digs, three kills) started that big opening-game run when she got her first of three “dump” kills, catching the Wolves (20-7) flat-footed and making the score 12-10 on the way to 24-10.
“I think when the other team is scrambling for the ball is the time to go for a dump,” Sausedo said. “Usually after a hard hit they will be scrambling to get the ball over and won’t be ready for that dump.”
Mia Van Lewen (20 kills, 12 digs, three blocks, two aces) dominated the front row for Ripon, but it was a play of hers from the back row that ended the night. She placed a back-row kill perfectly for the match’s final point, sending Western Sierra back to Rocklin.
“I have been really inconsistent with my back rows,” Van Lewen said. “On that last point I told myself that I had to get it.
“This being my senior year, getting to the third round of NorCals feels pretty good, especially with this group of girls. This is my favorite team that I have been on so I am glad to have gone this far with them.”
Indians libero Deven Stokes handled the back row with 16 digs. Jordynn Russell added five digs, three kills and three aces; Kaiser had four digs and two kills to go with her six aces; Sydney Thomason had eight kills along with two blocks, an ace and a dig and Shannon Johnson chipped in eight assists, five digs and a kill.
Ripon hits the road Saturday to face top-seeded Madera South in a regional semifinal match at 6 p.m.