There's more than one Ripon high school heading to UC Davis on Thursday to play for a Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball championship.
Small-school power Ripon Christian continued its run through Division 5, routing sixth-seeded Forest Lake Christian in three games and earning a berth in the section final for the third consecutive season.
Joining RC will be Ripon, a public high school that is intensely competitive with its private-school neighbor. While RC will play Bradshaw Christian for the D5 title at 4 p.m., Ripon faces Christian Brothers at 6.
RC opened the tournament as the No. 10 seed in a 16-team field, a result of losses it suffered to D4 powerhouses Ripon and Escalon while playing in the Trans-Valley League.
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The Knights have played all their matches on the road, but that hasn't been an issue. They easily disposed of No. 7 Valley Christian and No. 2 Big Valley Christian in the first two rounds, sweeping in three games.
Sixth-seeded Forest Lake experienced more of the same as battle-tested RC swept them from the gym.
RC has won the last two section titles in D5, part of its two-decade run of success. It doesn't win the title every year, it just seems like it.
Since the section went to a five-division format in 1991, RC has won 12 of the 18 championship pennants.
An interesting note is that RC has never won one title without winning at least the next one, too. It won the first six titles, a string broken in 1996 by Central Catholic.
The Knights bounced back to win four in a row from 1999-2002, and they've won the last two years. They ought to be confident heading into Thursday: RC has never lost a section championship match.
SONORA FALLS, at Sonora — The No. 2-seeded Wildcats ran into one of Sacramento's top programs in the D3 semifinals, and battled down to the end of each game before dropping a 25-20, 25-23, 25-22 decision to third-seeded El Camino.
Hanah Blume was big at the net for the Wildcats with 12 blocks, while Sarah Blume had a strong all-around game with 15 assists, 14 digs and two blocks. Jenna Milnik also served two aces.
ESCALON SWEPT, at Sacramento — The Cougars ended one of their finest seasons by dropping a three-game match to four-time defending Division 4 champion Christian Brothers.
ATWATER LOSES, at Sacramento — The best way to reach the section final in D2 is to make sure you are on the side of the bracket opposite St. Francis. Atwater, unfortunately, didn't have a say in its placing.
As a result, the No. 3 Falcons not only had to face St. Francis — they played on the Troubadours' court. It was close, but St. Francis prevailed 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 in the semifinal.
That means St. Francis is going to its third straight D2 final. It won in in 2007 and lost to Rocklin in 2008.
Atwater's Nicole Heller was busy at the net with 13 blocks, while Nikki Schiber had six kills and Jaclyn Frank 5 in the Falcons' finale.