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Ripon Christian pounds Mariposa in 1st-place battle
Ripon Christian outside hitter Kristy Van Diver fires one of her team-high 18 kills past Mariposas Carissa Leonard. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

RIPON — Mariposa proved to be no pushover.

The final scores say otherwise.

Ripon Christian blew past its chief rival in the Southern League on Monday like it was any other match, sweeping 25-16, 25-14, 25-14.

“They’re a strong team; we just played real well tonight,” RC coach Tiger Shelton said. “We came in ready and focused. We match up really well with them.

“They’re a legitimate team. I don’t know why we struggle a little more with other teams (in league), but tonight we were able to execute.”

Led by the hard-swinging Khrissy Schellentrager, the Bears (5-1, 8-2 overall) battled RC tit for tat early in the first and second games, forcing some exciting rallies that allowed both sides to put their skills on display. The Knights (6-0, 10-3), still undefeated in the SL since returning in 2010, closed the door on both with big runs.

Kristy Van Diver blasted a kill to end the opening set and a 10-2 rally. The Knights trailed 1-6 early in the second game but dominated from there. Stephanie Vande Pol tallied two of her five aces for the 23rd and 25th points.

The final set was all Knights, who raced to 9-2 advantage and ended with a bang, as six of their final eight points were kills.

Van Diver said a tough nonleague schedule, which included some of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s top clubs along with the prestigious Harbor High Tournament in Santa Cruz, prepared the team for some of the tight moments it was dealt with Monday.

“We played against really tough teams like St. Mary’s and Rocklin, so we just learned how to fight through it,” she said. “We just work really hard and practice with intensity and try and take that into our matches.”

Mariposa ultimately couldn’t keep up with Ripon Christian’s relentless attack, which came from everywhere on the court.

Cassidy De Rousse, Brittany Petlansky Vande Pol each added eight kills. Vande Pol also had four blocks and five assists.

“We do well when Stephanie plays well,” Shelton said.

The coach’s daughter, Andie Shelton, recorded 32 assists — a high number for a three-set match. Teagan Manus contributed six blocks, and Kaylie Colyn turned in 18 digs. The back row, said Coach Shelton, is where it all started Monday. He also lauded the efforts of defensive specialist Amanda Evans.

“The back row was passing really well,” he said. “They were giving Andie a lot of options, and when she has options we’re hard to handle.”