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Knights leaving SAL with 5th straight tile
Orestimba-Ripon Christian boys volleyball
Ripon Christian’s Isaiah Vander Woude (left) and Jacob Camper (25) defend Orestimba’s Matthew Flinders. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

 With the outright Southern Athletic League boys volleyball championship on the line Monday with second-place Orestimba coming to town, Ripon Christian never trailed and dispatched the Warriors with relative ease, 25-15, 25-11, 25-2.

It’s the fifth SAL championship in a row for the Knights, absent the two COVID seasons.

Ripon Christian (9-0 SAL, 17-7 overall) totally dominated the first two sets, limiting Orestimba (7-2, 12-8) to just two kills in the first set and five in the second. The Warriors from Newman made the third set interesting, notching their second tie of the night at 1-1 and putting on a late spurt to draw from 21-12 to within 21-19 but they would come no closer.

“We have had a strong program for a while,” Knights coach Kevin Tameling said. “Our guys are younger and they have also played against some guys who are playing right now collegiately.

“Just playing higher-level volleyball the last couple of years, whether it has been in practice or in matches and in tougher tournaments that we have been to, really helps us to grow and understand how to win games.”

As he has most of the season, Mason Tameling led the attack for Ripon Christian with 15 kills.

“It was senior night,” Mason Tameling said. “We had a few different seniors starting and we had to play our normal game.

“That was good that those seniors got to play, and we got a good win.”

The Knights’ Preston Zuidervaart dished out 22 assists.

“Mason (Tameling) is a great hitter,” Zuidervaart said. “He’s a sophomore this year, so seeing him develop has been great. We’ve also got Danny (Lambdin), Darren (Van Groningen) and Isaac (Venema) who are amazing hitters along with Isaiah (Vander Woude).

“I know that if I just put the ball up, they can hit it down no matter what.”

Vander Woude tallied 11 kills, Lamdin four and Van Groningen three in the last set, including the final kill of the match.

Lambdin closed out the first set on a five-point service run behind three aces.

“I knew that my teammates were there to help me out on that run,” Lambdin said. “I was just able to calmly serve the ball and I got it in court and it worked out.”

Ripon Christian closes out the league schedule at Delhi tonight at 6 p.m. It will be the Knights’ last match in the SAL, as they will move to the Trans-Valley League next year.