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RC’s Vander Veen, Hoffman split All-SAL girls volleyball MVP
Four Knights football players earn top awards
All-SAL fall teams
Ripon Christian outside hitter Jordan Vander Veen hits a spike through the Orestimba block in a Southern Athletic League action. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

Jordan Vander Veen has repeated girls volleyball MVP in the Southern Athletic League and shares the honor with teammate Sydney Hoffman, while Grant Sonke is once again Defensive Player of the Year for football.

All-SAL fall teams
Ripon Christian’s Sydney Hoffman reaches up for the block against Orestimba. - photo by SEAN KAHLER
It was another banner fall season for Ripon Christian.

The volleyball team captured its second straight California Interscholastic Federation state championship and third overall but did in Division III — the highest-level achievement for the small-school juggernaut. The Knights also added the 19th Sac-Joaquin Section title to their collection, their first in Division IV.

Ripon Christian (37-5) went undefeated in 14 league matches, sweeping all of them. The Knights will compete in the tougher Trans-Valley League starting next year after seizing at least a piece of 12 titles in 13 seasons in the SAL.

Both headed to NCAA Division II programs, Vander Veen and Hoffman led a senior-heavy rotation that has six on the All-SAL team.

They were each among the top hitters in the state, Vander Veen in volume and Hoffman in efficiency. In league, Vander Veen totaled 162 kills (3.9 per set), 37 service aces and 59 digs. Hofman, a 5-foot-10 middle, had an impressive 68.2% kill percentage and finished with 116 kills, 11 blocks and 19 aces.

The versatile Leah Van Wyngarden (98 kills, 78 aces, 118 digs) and 6-foot setter Megan Weststeyn (453 assists, 30 kills, 31 aces, three blocks, 45 digs) are back on the all-league team. Van Wyngarden ranked 16th nationally in overall service aces, while Weststeyn ended with the fifth most overall assists in the state.

Libero Allison Brown (24 aces, 85 digs) and defensive specialist Dayna Koolhaas (16 aces, 54 digs) round out the Knights’ all-league players. Senior outside hitter Maddie Yonker and sophomore middle Brynn Bohn earned honorable mention.


All-SAL fall teams
Ripon Christian’s Brady Grondz rushes ahead of Orestimba’s Drew Felber. - photo by Wayne Thallander


It was nearly a clean sweep of major awards for the reigning SAL champion Knights (7-0 SAL, 12-2 overall), which has won back-to-back SJS Division VI crowns.

Sonke produced 48 tackles, 13.0 for losses and 3.0 sacks in league for his second straight DPOY. The 5-10, 190-pound linebacker is a

All-SAL fall teams
Ripon Christian linebacker Grant Sonke, right, takes hold of Orestimba running back Juan Esquivez.
three-time all-league selection, making the list as a running back during his sophomore year.

Flyback Brady Grondz was named Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 516 yards (13.9 per carr) and 12 touchdowns while catching six passes for 81 yards and another TD. He also had two touchdowns on punt returns, finishing as RC’s leading scorer with 90 points (15 per game).

Paving the way was 6-4, 305-pound tackle Carson Bunnell, who earned Offensive Lineman of the Year. Junior Jimmy Heida (22 tackles, 4,0 for losses) received Defensive Lineman of the Year and was also selected all-league as an offensive lineman.

Six-foot-9 senior tight end Jace Biedleman (seven receptions, 83 yards, three TDs) was also named to the All-SAL offense.

Making all-league for defense were senior outside linebacker Dustin Hoekstra (25 tackles, 1.5 sacks), senior inside linebacker Preston Zuidervaart (66 tackles, 12.0 for losses), senior cornerback Ethan Schenk (five pass deflections) and sophomore safety Amos Cady (42 tackles, four interceptions).

Senior offensive lineman Cote Windorski and sophomore quarterback Mason Tameling earned honorable mention.

The MVP award went to Orestimba running back Juan Esquivez, who finished as the leading rusher and scorer in the SJS.