2008 MANTECA BULLETIN ALL-AREA VOLLEYBALL TEAM
• Middle blocker Andrea Terpstra, Ripon Christian senior — By far the most dominant hitter in the area, Terpstra inked a full-ride scholarship in the fall to join the volleyball program at the University of the Pacific.
• Middle blocker Ashley Robinson, Ripon junior — Calm, cool and collected describes Robinson perfectly. When she was on top of her game, Ripon was nearly unbeatable.
• Outside hitter Jenna Dunkel, Ripon senior — A powerful hitter from the edge, Dunkel was the Indians’ most lethal scoring threat in 2008.
• Outside hitter/defensive specialist Kirsten Duren, Ripon senior — The Boise State-bound senior and 2007 Bulletin All-Area MVP backed up her reputation as one of, if not the best ever to play at Ripon High.
• Libero Meredith Perkins, Ripon senior — Perkins led the state of California for much of the season in digs per game and finished fourth overall. Was voted Trans Valley League’s MVP.
• Setter/defensive specialist Bernadette May, Manteca senior — A versatile backcourt specialist and setter, May was the biggest reason why the Buffaloes qualified for the postseason.
MB Rachel O’Neal, East Union junior; MB Cynthia Perez, Manteca junior; OH Sierra Roberts, Manteca junior; S Mahlynn Liotard, Sierra senior; MB Jaslynn Liotard, Sierra junior; OH/S Kayla Morel, Sierra senior; MB Lauren Feddersen, Ripon junior; S Kelsey Johnston, Ripon soph.
Following Ripon Christian’s ouster in the second round of the Northern California Regional Championships on Nov. 29, Knights head coach Tiger Shelton had this to say about senior setter Candice Adema:
“She’s the best setter in the Valley. ... She deserves an incredible amount of credit, there are girls with higher stats in individual categories, but they don’t have stats in every category.”
And while selecting the 2008 Bulletin All-Area Most Valuable Player was an extremely difficult task following another epic season dominated by the City of Ripon, Adema takes home the honor for that very reason: She’s not just good at one or two facets of the game, she excels in every facet of the game.
Adema’s line in RC’s second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship game is a perfect example of what the wiry, 5-foot, 10-inch setter brings to RC’s table — 25 assists, five kills, three blocks and nine digs.
With University of the Pacific-bound middle blocker Andrea Terpstra serving as the Knights’ main scoring threat, the task of setting up Terpstra as well as anchoring a talented backcourt fell on Adema’s shoulders.
The results were undeniable. Not only did the Knights win their second section crown in as many seasons, but Ripon Christian became the first D-V program in history to capture a 12th section title.
Although Adema and the Knights were admittedly disappointed with how the season ended, coming up short of their goal of reaching the state title match, she and six other graduating seniors helped rebuild a once-great program and return it to the pinnacle of the small-school volleyball in Northern California.
“There’s a group of seven of us that Tiger came down to visit when we were in junior high,” Adema said. “He talked to us about volleyball, but at that point in time, we weren’t really into volleyball — basketball was our sport.
“He changed our minds. He told us that we could do something good and as a coach he believed in us. He saw our potential and that’s when we started working really hard.
“The past two years, we’ve gone really far in the playoffs, we won two sections, so it was pretty amazing.”
Like all highly successful student-athletes, Adema’s work-ethic is her greatest asset. A self-described gym rat, Adema puts in hours and hours of behind-the-scenes work.
Four years ago, Adema weighed less than 100 pounds and was expected to follow in her brother Justin’s footsteps on the basketball court.
Today, she can touch 9 feet, 10 inches with her vertical jump, she’s a highly decorated club player and she’s hoping to continue her career at Nazarene University in San Diego.
“Well, first of all, I wouldn’t say I’m good at so many different things, hitting is not my forte, but, I worked a lot with Tiger after school on setting,” Adema said. “I set balls for hours, that’s pretty much all I do. Playing club really helped, it got me more experience, and it really stepped up the level of intensity that I played at.
“Part of it was Tiger, because he told me how good I could be, and then I wanted to find out. He told me that I could be good, and I told him ‘No.’ I disagreed with him all the time. But, he put that thought in my mind, and I just went with it.”
RC’s group of seniors is an overachieving bunch. Unlike a lot of top-notch programs around California the group is not comprised solely of club players, which puts RC at an inherent disadvantage when facing top-line competition.
But RC’s strength is in its camaraderie.
“We’re pretty much a family,” Adema said. “We do everything together, even now, we still do stuff together. It’s really sad, Tiger wrote us a letter at the end of the season, all the seniors. All of us cried. Not only have we grown up together, but we’ve been through so much together.
“There’s been some drama on our team, but we’ve gotten over it and it’s like, we fight. I’m not going to lie, we fight like a family, but we also back each other up in everything we do.”
Following an Oct. 28 loss to Ripon, the Knights rolled off seven straight sweeps that included the section crown and a first-round drubbing of Dublin’s Valley Christian in the NorCal tournament.
But the wheels came off in Watsonville in an 0-3 loss to St. Francis in which all three games could have gone the other way.
“I don’t even know what happened (against St. Francis), we obviously did not have our best game,” Adema said. “It’s not necessarily that we were intimidated, because most of us had a pretty good feeling about that game. We thought that we would do well, and maybe that was the problem. We went into it a little overconfident, maybe, but I don’t know. We tried, it just wasn’t a good night for us.”
Despite the loss, however, there’s no question that Adema, Terpstra, and the rest of RC’s senior class will long be remembered for resurrecting the program.
“It was pretty exciting,” Adema said of the second straight section title.”For a while, volleyball hasn’t been doing very well (at RC). It was nice to win that 12th one. To be honest though, for most of us, I think it wasn’t as exciting as the first time. It was kind of ‘been there, done that,’ and we were ready to move on to bigger fish, I guess you could say.
“But it was still exciting, and we were really proud.”