Turlock Christian High had a tough time responding to Ripon Christian High’s power and persistence on Monday, sending the Knights (10-0 SAL) home with a still perfect record after a straight set loss (25-8, 25-15, and 29-27) for the Eagles.
“Ripon Christian is a powerful team,” TC’s head coach Ken Wynne said. “They’re very well schooled in transitioning and defensive positioning. They’re always ready.”
The combination of a prepared group of Knights and the notoriously slow-starting Eagles squad spelled doom for TC. As has been the case all season, TC’s players were slow to respond in the first set, caught off guard by RC’s fast paced offense. The Knights used quick sets and a variety of plays at the net to claim their lopsided first set victory and gain momentum for the rest of the match.
“For our team, it’s not uncharacteristic to come out slow, but usually not as slow as we did in the first match,” Wynne said. “Our girls are quick on the court; they have to come out quick, right off the bat.”
RC continued to dominate at the net in the second set with Andie Shelton and Cassidy DeRousee while also asserting control with its service game. As time wore on TC began to come alive, playing closer to their capabilities as veterans Sarah Amaral and Arin Morelli led the way. By the third set the Eagles were in fine form, overcoming their height limits to push RC to the brink. TC found itself in game point situations three separate times in the final set but was ultimately unable to finish off the Knights.
“We just started playing up,” Wynne said of his team’s late match effort. “We finally gave them a game in that last set.”
TC currently sits in fourth place in the Southern Athletic League. If the Eagles are to make playoffs they will have to seal their last four games of the season with wins, the first of which is against second place Mariposa County High on Thursday.
“Mariposa is a must win for us,” Wynne said. “It would help our chances if we’re going to make playoffs.”