High School Sports

Ripon Christian girls volleyball wins first section title since 2011 against Colfax

Ripon Christian sophomore outside hitter Emily Van Groningen said Tuesday’s five-set match against Le Grand felt like the section title game.

In that game, the Knights (25-9) fed off multiple match points in the fourth set before rallying to win the final two games.

For the encore, Ripon Christian beat Colfax in three sets (25-14, 25-22, 25-16) in the official CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title game on Saturday at Natomas High School.

The Knights advanced to the CIF State playoffs, which will be released on Sunday.

“I told them before the game just to play RC ball,” Knights coach Ava Vander Woude said. “We just did our things well ... the basics like passing the ball to net.”

Groningen had 15 kills and senior Ariel Van Woude had 17 assists and senior Morgan Van Elderen added 14 assists.

Ripon Christian rolled in the first set and Van Groningen got the crowd’s attention with a big kill to end the set. The second set was tied at 15 before the Knights went on a 7-4 run to separate themselves and take a 2-0 lead.

“They were the No. 1 seed for a reason,” Vander Woude said. “They are a really good team.”

With match point in the third set, Van Groningen said she was focused on just getting the ball into play and did just that on her serve, which wasn’t returned as the Knights won their first title since 2011.

The win was especially special for Vander Woude, who’s daughter Ariel is a senior.

Van Groningen said the team planned to celebrate by going out to eat.

“Maybe In-N-Out,” she said with a grin.

Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.