Adrienne Uecker feels fortunate heading into her third season as the Ripon head volleyball coach.
After making two straight second-round exits in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs the last two years, Uecker will now be depending on five of her seniors to take Ripon even further into the postseason.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have five seniors,” said Uecker, also a Ripon High alumna. “This will be (Emily Brutout’s) third varsity season playing with me, and all the other kids I’ve still been around and have known for three years and have coached some of them in club.
“They know what my expectations are and they know what standards I’m holding them to.”
The Indians earned a first-round win over Summerville (3-0) but were then eliminated by crosstown rival Ripon Christian in a sweep.
This year, Ripon has a handful of experiencd seniors ready to lead them to perhaps a section-championship run.
Paige Goodger, Kristen Carhart, Danny Arteaga, Melanie Wilkerson and Brutout are the “Fab Five”’ according to Uecker.
This year’s group is focused on having fun, most importantly.
“We definitely keep it really weird,” said Uecker, who used to be an assistant coach at Stanislaus State. “We like to have fun. We can work hard and do everything we can but if we’re not having fun there’s no point.
“The girls just want to be together, and they think that’s going to be the difference to go past that second round this year and will make us a contender to go to the (section championship.”
Along with Uecker’s five standout seniors, she will also be returning Jourdan Richter, an experienced sophomore setter who played up at the varsity level last year.
“I have 12 kids on varsity right now and every single one of them brings something special to the team,” Uecker said. “Every single day in practice kids bring it. We have a lot of talent and we have a lot of really great kids with high character. That’s very important when you’re trying to have a winning season.
“You u will not find a selfish kid at all really, throughout the whole program,” Uecker added. “I’m extremely blessed, we just have team players. Our motto is all heart and that’s what I preach.”
Ripon will open its season on the road with an Aug. 30 match against Truckee High, followed by a home game in Ripon the next day against Oakdale at 6 p.m.
The Indians will host RC on Sept 3 and will open up league play against Escalon in Ripon on Sept. 24.
To contact John-Joel Griffiths, e-mail email@example.com.