MADERA – Play like a family.
Those were the words of advice Ripon volleyball coach Tyler White gave her squad Saturday night when they were down early in the fifth and deciding set to top-seeded Madera South on Saturday night in the CIF State Division V Regional Semifinal contest.
And play like a family the No. 4 Indians did, clawing their way to a thrilling 25-19, 15-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-12 win.
Leading 14-12 in the final set, Ripon’s Jordynn Russell (six kills, six digs, ace) went up for the match-ending kill only to have it blocked. Libero Deven Stokes (19 digs, two assists, ace) saved it in the back row and got it to setter Rachel Sausedo (45 assists, 15 digs, three aces, kill) who set the ball for Brooke Kaiser (11 digs, nine kills, ace, block).
Kaiser slammed the ball off of a would-be blockers hands and it fell to the Stallions court, giving the Indians the hard-fought come-from-behind win.
“They played like a family,” Ripon coach Tyler White said. “They had a lot of heart and didn’t let anything stop them.
“They rallied when they needed to in their own version of skill and fun.”
Trailing in the fourth and what could have been night-ending set, White called a time out.
“I told them it was a roller coaster and if this was their last set, it had better be their best,” White said.
And after the rough start to the fifth game, White called them together again.
“I told them they needed to be a family,” White said. “They adjusted, fought point-for-point and battled hard.
The Indians improve to 25-11 and Madera South drops to 22-21.
Mia Van Lewen led the Ripon charge with 27 digs and 22 kills. Sydney Thomason chipped in 15 kills and a dig and Alyssa Barrios had six kills, four digs and two blocks.
The Indians travel south again on Tuesday, this time to Fresno to face No. 3 Washington Union in the Regional Championship at 7 p.m.