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Indians squeak out nail-biting 4th set to repel RC
Ripons Samantha McCreath, left, spikes the ball over Ripon Christians Makenzie Miller (5) and Sydney McMurray (16) during Thursdays nonleague rivalry match at Ripon Christian. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

RIPON — You do not want to get Ripon High’s Breana Barrios angry.

With her Indians and host Ripon Christian tied at one set apiece Thursday night in non-league volleyball action, the Knights had cut a double-digit deficit to seven points when Barrios got a kill to give herself the serve. 

And while her kill was impressive, it was nothing next to her impending service run.

Not only did Barrios reel off six service points give Ripon the pivotal third set, four of those six points were aces as the Indians prevailed in the cross-town battle 25-12, 23-25, 25-12, 25-23.

“I was getting mad,” Barrios said, “because they were catching up on us. So I went out there and did my best.”

The fourth set was a nail-biter with the score tied five times in the first 10 points and 11 times overall, with the final deadlock at 23-23. The Knights (5-4) committed an error for the next point and Samantha McCreath got the final point with one of her 23 kills. 

Three of her kills came from the back row.

“I was trying to put the ball in different spots and make their defense work for it,” McCreath said.

With McCreath (23 digs, three aces, two blocks) patrolling the net, Ashlyn Eisenga had the back row under control, hustling to make 28 digs.

“We really talked in the back court,” Eisenga said. “We kept up the energy and kept up the talk.

“We read the hitters’ arms and had to get around the ball. We did not want the ball to touch the floor – that was our goal – and we hustled for every ball.”

Lauren Weibe (three kills) had 25 assists for the Indians (2-1) and Rachel Sausedo had 13 assists. Makayla Buie added five kills and five blocks, Madison McCreath six blocks and Barrios had six kills, four aces and two blocks.

The noise in the Ripon Christian gym was at times deafening with both sides given ample opportunity to cheer. 

“The momentum changed over and over, back and forth,” Ripon coach Erin Cutino said. “It is always a great game when it is with the cross-town rivals.

“But (Knights coach) Jocelyn (Benziger) swears she is one of us. She is a good friend of ours and she came from Ripon and we love her and we love the program. Most of us are related. So you cheer them on and you work hard and it was a great battle and great games.”

In the thrilling 25-23 second-set Ripon Christian win, Lyndsey Van Groningen (six kills, three blocks) had a block and a kill down the stretch for the Knights. Carly Eastham led the offensive effort for Ripon Christian with nine kills and seven digs. Sydney McMurray added eight kills, Makenzie Miller four kills and two blocks and Elizabeth Weststeyn 16 assists, eight digs and two blocks.

The Knights had some miscues that proved to be critical.

“We had some momentary lapses in serve-receive,” Benziger said. “When our serve-receive was doing OK we were in the game but they have some strong servers and they kept it on point. They kept us moving.”