That stunning loss to Orestimba appears to be in the rear-view mirror for Ripon Christian.
More than three weeks after having their Southern League win streak halted at 59, the Knights had an impressive showing in their sweep (25-15, 25-20, 25-19) of scrappy Waterford on Thursday.
Ripon Christian (8-1 SL, 19-5 overall) had three key members missing in the three-set loss to Orestimba, including starting setter Elisabeth Regusci. That forced the Knights to put their top outside hitter, Dani Erdelatz, in her place, leading to an off-kilter effort.
“It’s disappointing to lose, but they’ve refocused and are practicing hard,” Ripon Christian coach Kara Ledeboer said. “We’ve been working on going back to the basics and expanding from there. The goal is to keep getting better every match.”
That they have.
The Knights have won five straight since, toppling Gustine, which shares the SL’s top spot with Ripon Christian, in the process.
Waterford (3-5, 14-9) ran into a buzz saw in the opening set. Feeding off its boisterous cheering section decked out in pink in support of breast cancer awareness month, Ripon Christian rolled to an 11-2 lead behind the strong serving of Elise Regusci and Silveira (8 aces). Erdelatz also made her presence felt in the early going, blasting three of her match-high 14 kills during the onslaught.
Ripon Christian participated in the “Dig Pink” campaign in support of the Side-Out Foundation.
“We had a lot of energy tonight with the Dig Pink event going on,” Ledeboer said. “I think the girls used that excitement from their student body and played well right from the beginning.”
Ripon Christian could only ride the early wave for so long.
Leading 10-1 in Game 2, the Knights began to struggle in serve receive and allowed the game Wildcats to come alive. Waterford jumped ahead 14-13 on a kill from Megan Kosky (11 kills), and held a 16-13 advantage before Emily Kosky’s 10-point run ended with a service error.
That was Julia Ray’s cue to take over for Ripon Christian. The imposing middle helped the Knights right the ship with four big kills off quick sets from Elisabeth Regusci (23 assists), and Erdelatz sealed the game with a demonstrative spike. Ray finished with six kills and two blocks.
“We do have other good hitters,” Erdelatz said. “I think that when teams aren’t ready for it, (the quick set) works real well. We have really good middles who can hit those.”
The third set was the most competitive from start to finish, but a 10-15-minute delay in action appeared to knock Waterford off its game. Ripon Christian held a 15-13 lead when play was stopped. Officials were in discussion with both coaches and the scorekeepers because of a possible rotation infraction on the Wildcats.
“We cleaned it up and we were still in the right rotation, but that really threw us off,” Waterford coach Dorvez Barnett said. “It was a competitive game going into it, but I’m really proud of the girls. They responded really well after how we played them at home; we didn’t give them a good match.
“Today we were in their heads a little bit and we had to make them think. It was evenly matched we just made a few more mistakes than they did.”
Valley Oak League
East Union 3, Lathrop 0
Jordyn Posz amassed 30 service points, including the final nine of the match, and the Lancers (6-3, 12-12) rolled to a 25-11, 25-17, 25-14 win at Dalben Center. Posz also had 17 assists and two aces.
Taylor Ward contributed 11 service points and five digs. Edmi Lopez and Haley England led the attack with 11 and seven kills, respectively.
Oakdale 3, Sierra 0
The visiting Timberwolves (1-8, 2-12) had a chance to extend the match but came up short in the end of an 8-25, 10-25, 21-25 sweep.
Kristen Maestretti powered Sierra with nine kills and six digs. Megan Westfall also contributed six digs.
Nikki Desrochers had 14 assists, eight digs and five aces for first-place Oakdale (8-1, 16-10).
Oakdale 2, Sierra 0
The Mustangs dominated from the start en route to a 25-9, 25-12 victory.
Lindsey Walljasper turned in four blocks while Yessica Salcedo chipped in two. Yolanda Tavares contributed three digs and an ace.