It didn’t take long for Ripon Christian to make its first big statement for the 2012 season.
A day after sweeping rival Ripon in a Foundation Game, which doesn’t count against records, the Knights conquered Rocklin on the road in four sets (25-22, 19-25, 26-24, 25-22) in their official season opener on Tuesday.
It’s RC’s first win over Rocklin under head coach Tiger Shelton, who said previous matches weren’t competitive until last year. Rocklin was a finalist in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs in 2011 but claimed three of the previous four titles. Ripon Christian has captured five section titles in a row but in the less competitive Division V field. The Knights will compete in Division IV starting this year.
“They’re huge — they have five players over 6 foot and they all play real well,” Shelton said. “I don’t think they thought they played very well at all. I’m sure they’re capable of playing a lot better but I’ll take the win.”
Ripon Christian fell behind 1-6 at the start of the pivotal third game before turning it into a shootout. Tied at 24-all, Stephanie Van de Pol came through with a kill, and Amanda Evans clinched it with one of the Knights’ 21 aces.
Standout Andie Shelton capped off a dominant all-around effort with 11 kills, 15 assists and eight aces. Stephanie Van de Pol added eight kills and eight assists to the attack.
Teagan Manus was also impressive at the net, coming through with nine blocks to go with six aces. Libero Kaylie Colyn led the defense with 15 digs, while Brittany Petlasnky finished 12.
Ripon Christian next hosts Modesto Christian Thursday before heading to St. Mary’s — an SJS Division I playoff finalist a year ago — next Tuesday, Sept. 4.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us,” Shelton said.
West 3, East Union 0
In Tracy, Alexis Steele pounded out five kills while Courtney Posz turned in 10 assists, but it was otherwise a struggle on the offensive end for the Lancers. Game scores were: 17-25, 19-25, 15-25.
East Union looks to even its early-season record Thursday against visiting Franklin.
Tracy 3, Weston Ranch 0
The Cougars had a rough first outing, committing over 50 unforced errors in a three-game defeat (14-25, 16-25, 13-25).
Candisse Griffin and Taylor Holiday each had three kills for host Weston Ranch.
East Union 2, West 0
After coasting in the opening set 25-16, the Squires battled back from an 0-6 deficit and clinched the match, 25-20.
Sabrina Riella anchored a strong serving effort for EU, accumulating 13 points and six aces. Alissa Burrola contributed eight points.
East Union 2, West 0
Aiko Jones collected five aces, while Taylor Ward chipped in four digs in the Lancers’ two-game sweep (25-15, 25-17).