RIPON — Ripon Christian and West Campus squared off as two evenly matched teams in the first round Sac-Joaquin Division IV volleyball playoffs.
“Because of that, it made for some close games,” RC coach Kara Ledeboer said Tuesday after her Knights came away with a hard-fought victory.
RC took the match in four games, 29-27, 21-25, 27-25, 25-17.
The Knights (26-6) advanced and will travel to face top-seeded Sonora on Thursday. The defending Division IV champions defeated Hughson in the opener.
RC was in a tough battle from the get go. West Campus (17-10) trailed but came back and even led 23-21 thanks in part to hitting errors committed by the Knights.
But freshman Paige Vos came up with a pair of kills to even things out and Julia Ray scored on a nicely placed drop shot.
The Warriors refused to back down, battling back from match point four times, including the ball taking a roll off the net in their favor.
Dani Erdelatz delivered on a pair of kills, giving RC the edge. A hitting miscue by West Campus finally ended it.
The Warriors entered the post season with a 12-0 mark in the Golden Empire League, boasting a pair of tough outside hitters in Vendela and Mikaela Williams, and an outstanding freshman in C’yana Boone-Nelson.
That combination coupled with middle blocker Taite Winter helped West Campus control most of the second game.
The Warriors also got service aces from Boone-Nelson and the Williams sisters en route to the win.
In the crucial third game, West Campus jumped out to a 9-3 advantaged as Mikaela Williams served up three straight aces while Winter delivered a nicely placed drop shot.
RC climbed back with Elisabeth Regusci setting up her teammates. The senior setter finished with 39 assists.
The beneficiary, no surprise, was Erdelatz, who tallied 19 kills and three blocks. Vos had 12 kills.
“It came down to who wanted it the most,” said Erdelatz. “We played with heart.”
A service error by the Warriors and a block by Carly Eastham gave RC the 27-25 win.
The fourth and final game, the Knights jumped out to 15-3 lead and never looked back.
“I was proud of the way (our girls) played,” Ledeboer said. “They were tough, mentally – they stepped up their game.”
For the Knights, Makenna Koslosky and Regusci had 20 and 17 digs, respectively. Bailey Silveira served up four aces, and Ray had three blocks.