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Ripon, RC host 1st-round playoff matches tonight
Emily OBrien, diving for a dig in a nonleague match against Sonora, and the Ripon volleyball team is hosting Central Catholic for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff match tonight. - photo by Photo By Sean Kahler


SJS Division IV playoffs

16-Hughson at 1-Sonora

9-West Campus at 8-RC

12- Colfax at 5-Amador

13-El Capitan at 4-Escalon

14-Highlands at 3-Calaveras

11-Central Cath. at 6-Ripon

10-Union Mine at 7-Bear river

15-Orestimba at 2-Hilmar

All matches start at 7 p.m.

Good news first: Ripon and Ripon Christian’s volleyball teams each get to host a match for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.

The bad news is that they tough first-round draws, and it gets more difficult if they get advance past tonight’s opening round.

Sixth-seeded Ripon (18-10) welcomes scrappy No. 11 seed Central Catholic (16-9), while Ripon Christian (25-6) takes on West Campus (17-9) in an 8-9 matchup of conference champions. All matches are scheduled for 7 o’clock starts.

Ripon finished 6-4 in the competitive Trans-Valley League, which is also home to two of the Division IV bracket’s top-four seeds, No. 2 Hilmar and No. 4 Escalon. 

Led by standout outside hitter Lauren Nicholson, Central Catholic was the Valley Oak League runner-up. The Raiders have a four-game nonleague loss to Calaveras, the third-seeded team and likely quarterfinal opponent for the Ripon-Central Catholic winner on Thursday.

Five-time defending Southern League champion Ripon Christian faces a West Campus club that hasn’t lost a Golden Empire League match in three years. The victor likely heads to Sonora to enconter the Division IV top seed and reigning titlist Wildcats. Sonora topped Hilmar in a thrilling five-game affair in last year’s final.

Ripon Christian remains the section leader with 15 titles, but all were earned in Division V. The Knights are 4-2 in Division IV since being bumped up in 2012. They lost in four games to Hilmar in the 2013 quarterfinals.