By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ripon takes care of Highlands in D4 opener
Highlands-Ripon girls volleyball
Ripon’s Danika Matuska (1) sets the ball for Taryn Escola (10). GARY JENSEN/

No. 2 Ripon aced its way through the first set Tuesday night, powered through the second but stumbled in the third before pulling it out for a 25-8, 25-11, 25-22 sweep of visiting 15th-seeded Highlands in opening-round action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV volleyball playoffs.

The third game saw seven ties and four lead changes, and although the last tie was at 12-12, the Indians (19-10) could not pull away. They led just 22-21 before ending the game on a 3-1 spurt behind kills by Danika Matuska (five kills) and Adriana Dorn (eight kills).

“We need to work on our mental toughness,” Ripon coach Casey Kresge said. “We are going to be facing tough teams throughout the playoffs and we felt we had this one in the bag and we lacked mental toughness in that third set.

“We were playing point for point and in of thinking they were going to give us the game instead of being that offensive team. We just need to be stronger going into that third set.”

The Scots (10-9) were torched by 11 Indians aces in the first set.

“We have been working a lot on serving this season,” Kresge said. “Sometimes we struggled with serving mid-season and that became a huge focus in our practices. Serving is our first opportunity to put the other team on its toes.

“We have worked on practice between serving deep, then short, then over their heads. We have worked on building consistency and I think that showed tonight.”

Eden Velasco notched four of those 11 first-game aces for Ripon.

“My service intensity is really hard because I have a really good float,” Velasco said. “Coach was giving me some hard positions to hit tonight but I hit all of them successfully and I ended up getting aces on those.”

Reagan Wilkerson notched 10 service points, 10 digs and eight assists.

“We played pretty well,” Wilkerson said. “But we could have done better.

“We were good in the first two sets but we shouldn’t have let the third set get the point that it did, but we still played our hearts out.”

Kaya Whitaker added 12 service points and 11 assists for the Indians. Emeri Lane (eight service points, six digs, six assists), Kylee Fullmer (six kills) and Taryn Escola (four kills) rounded out the Ripon attack. Fullmer and Escola combned for seven kills in the second set.

The Indians host No. 7 Hughson on Thursday at 7 p.m.