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Van Groningen repeats as Co-MVP; Brouwer is top D-lineman in SAL
Bulletin sports fall 2021
Ripon Christian’s Emily Van Groningen (15) spikes against Priscilla Barnett and visiting Le Grand on Sept. 27. They are Southern Athletic League Co-MVPs for a second straight season. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

Volleyball standout Emily Van Groningen has repeated as Co-MVP of the Southern Athletic League, while Zach Brouwer earned Defensive Lineman of the Year honors for football.

Bulletin sports fall 2021
Waterford quarterback Aaron Adams (1) gets the pass off while pressured by Ripon Christian’s Zach Brouwer in a Southern Athletic League contest on Oct. 1. - photo by GARY JENSEN/
They headline fall-sports award winners from Ripon Christian. Eleven Knights in all made the all-league teams.

Van Groningen shares the MVP distinction Le Grand’s Priscilla Barnett for a second time after they split it in 2019. It’s also the fourth straight season that a Ripon Christian player was named MVP, following Paige Vos (2017) and Makenzie Miller (2018).

The Knights ran the table in SAL play and claimed their 17th Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title, finishing with a 36-6 record. Their season ended in the second round of the NorCal Division IV Regional Championships. Kayla Kootstra is the Coach of the Year in her first season of leading her alma mater.

The 6-foot-3 Van Groningen, who signed with Pacific last week, was a dominant presence in the middle of Ripon Christian’s front row. She amassed 400 kills (3.3 per set), 52 total blocks and 273 digs — all team-highs. She was also among the Knights’ top producers in aces with 80.

Outside hitters Avery McMurray, Ava Van Groningen and Jordan Vander Veen also made all-league. McMurray tallied 182 kills, Ava Van Groningen fired 209 and Vander Veen added 202. Van Groningen also had 41 blocks, 244 digs and a team-best 93 aces.

Senior setter Jenna Hofman and senior libero Kristen Van Elderen made honorable mention.

Ripon Christian’s football team was the runner-up in league and went 7-3 after winning its final three.

The 6-2, 260-pound Brouwer anchored the Knights defense, accumulating 64 tackles (12 for losses) and two sacks. Offensive lineman Jay Hoekstra was also named to the All-SAL first team along with tight end Thys Van Der Hoek and multi-position threat Grant Sonke.

The 6-8 Van Der Hoek paced Ripon Christian with five receiving touchdowns to go with 234 yards. Sonke, a sophomore, made the list as a utility player. one of the Knights’ most productive players on offense with 947 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. Defensively, he had contributed 41 yards. As placekicker, he converted 36 of 40 point-after tries and 2 of 3 field goals.

All-league second-team selection include Ripon Christian junior offensive lineman Jacob Kowes and senior linebackers Micah DeJong and Colton Bryan. Senior defensive lineman Alex Sonke and junior quarterback Trey Fasani earned honorable mention.

Quarterback Aaron Adams is MVP after leading Waterford (10-2) to an outright league title. He threw for 2,193 yards, 32 touchdowns and four interceptions, while rushing for 1,085 yards and 11 scores.

Other major awards went to Delhi’s Angel Ramirez (Offensive Player of the Year0, Mariposa’s Tyler Crockett (Defensive Player of the Year) and Fermin Villegas (Offensive Lineman of the Year). Waterford’s Adam Hilton is Coach of the Year.