The Ripon Christian girls volleyball team was rewarded for its second consecutive CIF State championship Thursday with a parade on a fire truck to the cheers of the Ripon Christian student bodies from the pre-school to the high school.
The festivities ended back on campus, where a presentation as held in the auditorium and was followed by college signings for standouts Sydney Hoffman (Stanislaus State) and Jordan Vander Veen (Concordia).
The fire-truck ride was just one more trip on what has been a road-heavy postseason with 1,696 miles covered in 25 days of state playoff action with trips to Highlands, Oakland, Carmel, San Francisco, San Anselmo and Orange, and a dominant 25 days it was with just one set lost in the playoffs. But thanks to the low seeding by the state for the second year in a row, this time in Division III, the Knights did not get to play a set on their home court in the state playoffs.
“You always get to celebrate with your team,” Ripon Christian coach Kayla Kootstra said. “But especially this year having all away games it is great to celebrate with the community that helped to get us there. This was fun.”
After the sweep of Redwood High School of Visalia in the finals, the girls were celebrating their back-to-back titles with chants of being 2-0. Kootstra had to remind the girls that no, they were 3-0 because she and assistant coach Melissa Blanco were on the first Knights state championship team way back in the last century in 1999.
“After the state title games the girls were chanting, ‘We’re 2 and 0, we’re 2 and 0,’” Kootstra said. “And I told them that no, we were actually 3 and 0.
“When you are part of a program that has had such a successful history in a sport and has been such a huge part of both of our lives it is great to be able to be able to come back and give back. Volleyball as a whole has been instrumental in the shaping the Christian that I am today and so to be able to come back and do the same for the groups of girls to come through is in and of itself very rewarding and to have the success we have had is pretty cool.”
Ripon Christian finished the season perfect in the Southern Athletic League at 14-0 and 37-5 overall and will be joining the Trans-Valley League next season.