RIPON — Ripon Christian finished its second-round match with visiting Colfax with a bang.
Derek Dotinga closed the show with an emphatic overhand slam, as he and Nick Van Vliet held off Colfax’s Hunter Klopotek and Aiden Gilfillian 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 in the No. 1 boys doubles match. More importantly, it keeps the Knights alive in the Sac-Joaquin Section coed tennis playoffs, as they nipped the No. 3 team out of the Pioneer Valley League 5-4 at the Ripon Community Center courts.
The stage was set for Dotinga and Van Vliet’s big win after Colfax’s mixed-doubles team of Matt Hershman and Courtney Kirland swept Noah O’Neal and Brooke Alger, 6-1, 6-1.
“When the crowd gathers around the last match like that it gets a little emotional,” Ripon Christian coach Mark Hoeksema said. “Playing in the Southern League, we usually play a super tiebreaker instead of a full third set so we hadn’t done that yet. It was nerve-wracking and about as tight as it can get, but our boys responded pretty well.”
Ripon Christian had the early lead after winning three of the four singles matches. No. 2 boys player Chad Kamper contributed a key point for the Southern League champion Knights as he held off Alec Shafer 7-6(3), 7-5. Avery Veilleux (6-3, 6-3) and Tess Chang (6-1, 6-4) did their part on the girls side. SL singles champion Jake Van Vuren was shutout by Kyle Detwiler, 0-6, 0-6. Detwiler is the 2015 section runner-up.
No. 2 girls doubles partners Aubrey Lien and Amanda Neeley won 6-1, 7-5.
“I had no idea what to expect today because I didn’t know anything about (Colfax) other than they play in a good league with Placer,” Hoeksema said. “This is the first time we’ve won without Jake winning, but our other singles players picked it up and played very well. It was an outstanding team effort.”
Ripon Christian next travels to Trans-Valley League champion Riverbank for a quarterfinal matchup next Tuesday, May 3. The Bruins defeated Dixon, 7-2.