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Ripon tops field of 36 for Golden Valley championship
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MERCED – Rack up another crown for the mighty Indians of Ripon.

After sweeping aside three teams in Golden Valley Tournament pool play Friday, all that stood between Ripon and the 36-team tournament championship Saturday was five more opponents.

All in a day’s work for Larry Keethe’s crew.

Starting at Merced College Saturday morning, Ripon downed Tiger Shelton’s Ripon Christian Knights 25-20, 25-14, before outlasting Atwater, 25-17, 18-25, 15-9.

“Tiger was having fun and so were his kids,” Keethe said. “They are young but talented; we had a great time playing them.”

After the win over the Falcons, it was off to Golden Valley High, where six teams remained in the hunt.

Ripon had a tough match against Buhach Colony, but pulled out the win 25-18, 29-27.

“I’m not saying Buhach is a bad team,” Keethe said. “They’re not by any means, but we have a tendency to play to our competition.”

Keethe has been preaching consistency to his relatively young group, and after another tough win over Golden Valley (25-18, 21-25, 15-6), the lights turned on for the Indians in the championship match versus Reno’s Bishop Manogue.

Down 10-16 in Game 1, Keethe called for a timeout. After the break, Cheyann Deprue served up 10 straight winners and Ripon went on to win the game, 25-17.

“Cheyann was incredible,” Keethe said. “After the timeout, the only point they got was on a bad serve. We took back a side-out and Lauren Feddersen served us to the win.”
With Game 2 knotted at 16 apiece, Ripon was able to turn it on again, picking up a 25-18 win to claim the tournament championship.

Bishop Manogue featured a bevy of tall, talented and vicious ball strikers. With Ashley Robinson and Feddersen filling up the hitting lanes, it came down to DePrue’s defensive ability in Bishop’s hitting alley, and DePrue came up huge.

Kelsey Johnston was the tireless warrior again, as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player played every second of every match.

Robinson and DePrue were also named to the All Tournament team, though Keethe said that all three All Tournament performers could have walked away with the MVP.

Coryn Hernandez was outstanding at net, smashing home her fair share of winners as well.

“It was a team effort,” Keethe said. “Kallie (Jacobs) had some nice saves, Kendra (Contente) had some nice saves. Lauren Goeppert was nails as our defensive specialist. Every player got to play in every game and everyone contributed.”

Ripon (13-5) will now set off on its journey toward the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason as Trans Valley League play opens Tuesday at Hughson. Modesto Christian visits Thursday.
— Brandon Petersen