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Knights climb back to win in five
Comeback sets RC up with state champ Branson in NorCal semis
Emily Leahy (3) celebrates during Ripon Christian’s five-game comeback victory over Santa Catalina Tuesday.
RIPON — The Knights didn’t want to be one and done in this year’s CIF State Northern California Division V volleyball championship tournament.

After two games, Ripon Christian High, down 0-2 to visiting Santa Catalina of Monterey, appeared heading in that direction on Tuesday.

“As a team, we didn’t want (Game 3) to be our last one,” said senior setter Michelle Terpstra.

From that point, the Knights rallied, winning the next two along with the decisive fifth game, 21-25, 20-25, 25-11, 25-23, 15-6.

 The No. 4 Ripon Christian (29-7) will travel to Branson-Ross, the Northern Section champions and top- seeded team, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the College of Marin.

Branson, the defending state champion, disposed of Portola rather handily, 25-8, 25-9, 25-12.

“One of our goals this year was to advance in the NorCals,” said Terpstra, who helped pace the Knights against Santa Catalina in the hard-fought match with 23 assists and 12 kills.

“I thought it was over when we were down two games,” said RC coach Tiger Shelton.

With their backs against the wall, the Knights jumped out to a 7-2 lead thanks to a save by Terpstra, a nice placement shot by Emily Leahy, a tap-point by Morgan Alger and a kill by Andie Shelton.

RC maintained its advantage, getting a service ace and kill from Shelton. The game-winner came on a combination block by Cassidy De Rousse and Terpstra.

Santa Catalina (18-13), the No. 5 seed and the Central Coast Section runner-up, jumped out to a 7-2 lead in Game 4. Sage Wright, Claire Bozzo and Katie Griffith had kills while Annie Aldrete came through with a service ace.

The Knights slowly whittled away at the lead, with Terpstra getting three kills and Leahy throwing down a pair of spikes.

The Cougars kept it close, getting kills from Griffith and Chase Leehong down the stretch.

RC went ahead for good after Shelton, a 5-8 freshman setter, powered home the go-ahead point. Santa Catalina’s hitting error into the net provided the Knights with the two-point victory.

Tied 2-2, RC jumped ahead in the fifth game, with Mikaela Alger and Shelton helping out with saves, Leahy and Shelton combining for a block.

Shelton’s service ace coupled with Terpstra’s two kills made it 11-5.

The Knights also used finesse as Morgan Alger and Terpstra delivered on nicely placed touch shots.

The Cougars’ unforced error – they had four miscues in the 15-6 finale – made for game point.

“I thought if we got one game (after being down 0-2) we just might get on a roll,” Shelton said.

In the end, he noted that it took a team effort to get the job done.

“The Alger sisters (Morgan and Mikaela) spent a long time working on their game and it showed. Michelle (Terpstra) took control and Andie (Shelton) gave us that spark when we needed it,” said the RC coach.

Andie Shelton finished with 19 assists and 11 kills; Mikaela Alger collected 11 kills, three service aces and four blocks; and Emily Leahy also had four blocks.

In addition, Brittany Petlansky came through with 46 saves and Kristi Van Diver helped out with 10 digs.

Tiger Shelton was impressed with the Cougars.

“They’re a well-coached and great young team,” he said.

Shelton added, “I really thought it might be over for us after two games. But my girls proved me wrong – they’re gamers.”