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VOLLEYBALL: Ripon Christian falls to Le Grand in 1st-place clash
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LE GRAND — Ripon Christian came up short in its bid to stand alone atop the Southern Athletic League standings on Thursday, dropping a well-contested five-set affair to Le Grand, 23-25, 25-14, 19-25, 25-23, 16-18.
It was a big week for Le Grand (4-0, 9-4 overall), a team with no seniors that earlier beat defending league champion Orestimba in four. Ripon Christian (3-1, 6-7) hosts the Bulldogs on Oct. 9.
“Le Grand runs an aggressive game and we just had some patches of responding slowly to some unexpected ways of playing the game,” Ripon Christian coach Jocelyn Benziger said. “We are ready for them to come our way.”
The Knights had to work through lineup changes after two players went down with ankle injuries in a previous match.
Freshman middle blocker Emily Van Groningen sparked them at the net, finishing with 12 kills and five blocks to go with four aces. Makenzie Miller added 14 kills. Lauren Braga swatted nine kills and had 11 digs and six service aces.
Renae Heida (eight kills), Morgan Van Elderen (20 assists, three blocks) and Charlotte te Velde (10 digs, three aces) were other key contributors.

Central Catholic 3, East Union 1
MODESTO — The Valley Oak League-leading Raiders (3-0, 14-0) remain undefeated after defeating East Union (2-2, 6-5), 25-19, 25-13, 23-25, 25-12.
EU’s Savannah LaBarre tied for match-high honors with 16 kills. Kiana Day tallied six kills and four digs. Alexus Surnip turned in 25 assists and four blocks.
Central Catholic was paced by Abby Castillon’s 16 kills and 12 digs. Tessa Gallo added 12 kills, 12 digs and seven aces. McKenzie Lettice handed out 41 assists.

Lathrop 3, Johansen 0
MODESTO — Jahsita Fa’alii amassed 24 kills to help the Spartans (4-1, 6-3) race to a 28-26, 25-19, 25-15 Western Athletic Conference victory.
Karina Chavez dished out 36 assists and chipped in two kills of her own. Avleen Kaur had four kills and four aces, Jordan Corner rapped five kills and Krystal Tempra collected 22 digs.

Junior varsity
Lathrop 2, Johansen 0
MODESTO — Lathrop (5-0, 7-3) continues its early roll in the WAC following a 25-22, 25-13 win.
Ke’mya Barnett pounded seven kills to highlight the attack. Anahy Serrano and Krytle Sakay distributed nine and eight assists, respectively. Charlene Bernal contributed three kills.

Lathrop 2, Johansen 0
MODESTO — Lylliana Avila fired six aces and two kills, as Lathrop swept, 25-21, 25-18.
Natalie Sayasane pitched in with five assists. LaNicia Ellis had two kills and an ace.