Good Knights: Ripon Christian outlasts Turlock Christian in volleyball finals

DAVIS -- Having played on the same volleyball teams since middle school, Ripon Christian High juniors Andrea Terpstra and Candice Adema have a strong chemistry on the court.

In the final two games of Thursday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship against Turlock Christian, that chemistry was scary.

Adema, the setter, found Terpstra, the middle hitter, with pin-point accuracy down the stretch as the Knights rolled to a 25-21, 19-25, 25-20, 25-17 victory over the Eagles at UC Davis.

Terpstra pounded 20 kills -- most coming in the final two games -- and Adema dished out 38 assists in the victory. It was the Ripon Christian volleyball program's 11th section championship.

Both teams still have matches to play. By virtue of their section championship appearance, they qualify for the CIF Northern California Regional Division V playoffs. RC has a first-round match at home Tuesday, while Turlock Christian will play on the road against another section champion.

Ripon Christian and Turlock Christian split the first two games, and the Eagles held a 20-18 lead in the third. But the Knights' Kelly Van Elderen served the game's final seven points, and Terpstra had two kills and a resounding block to close it out.

"We got a wake-up call in the second game (with the loss)," Terpstra said. "But the way Candice and I were connecting in the third and fourth, it was amazing."

Adema found Terpstra on the outside, with quick sets in the middle and even with a few line-drive sets that nearly skirted the net before Terpstra came flying in for the kill.

"Once our offense really started working, they couldn't stop us," Adema said. "We played so well in those final games."

Ripon Christian opened a big lead in the fourth game, going from 7-7 to 21-9 before easing in for the win.

"We knew we could hang with them," RC coach Tiger Shelton said. "The way we've been playing, I felt we were the top team in Division V."

Turlock Christian, meanwhile, was playing in its fifth consecutive section championship. The Eagles won it all last year, but now must prepare for a road trip in the first round of NorCals.

"When they got all their tools going, it got pretty tough," TC coach Keith Landmeier said. "But we're hoping to play them again."

While NorCals are old hat for Turlock Christian, it's been five years since an RC team made it this far.

"We feel we've got a good chance at that first match," Shelton said. "We've just got to keep playing as well as we did through the section."