Turlock Christian nets section championship

sjansen@mercedsunstar.comNovember 21, 2013 

— Stone Ridge Christian quickly got Turlock Christian’s attention.

The Knights won Game 2 to tie Thursday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 6 title game at one game apiece. The Eagles were ready to make a statement.

Turlock Christian came out in the third game and made it on its way to winning a second straight championship with a 25-23, 17-25, 25-6, 25-16 win over the Knights at University of California at Davis’ Pavilion.

“We can’t underestimate any team,” said Turlock Christian senior outside hitter Sarah Amaral. “In the second game we rested a little bit. We had to come together and start playing with each other.” (See video hightlights)

It was the first time on the big stage for Stone Ridge Christian and the Knights played well early.

Rachel Kaler finished with 18 kills and two aces. Amber Fletcher had a nice all-around game with 19 assists, two aces and 10 digs.

However, when the Eagles picked up their level of play Stone Ridge was unable to respond.

“I think we just relaxed after we won that second game,” Knights coach Ken Shaw said. “We stopped putting the ball away and started dinking. We took our foot off the gas pedal.”

Turlock Christian used runs of 9-0, 6-0 and 7-0 in the third game to quickly put away SRC.

“I think we kind of just lost it mentally,” Fletcher said. “We just started falling a part. It’s pretty hard when you lose momentum, and once you’re out of it mentally that’s kind of the game.”

The Eagles then jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the fourth game and kept the Knights from putting together any kind of run to get back in the match.

“I reminded them after we lost the second game that we’re the returning champions,” Turlock Christian coach Ken Wynne said. “We need to play as champions. We needed to play confident but not cocky.”

Amaral led everybody with 23 kills. Tiffany Franco orchestrated the offense well with 38 assists.

“It’s incredible,” Amaral said. “I didn’t think I’d be blessed enough to do this twice.”

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or sjansen@mercedsunstar.com.

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