Heated rivalries ahead in prep volleyball

The Ripon and Escalon volleyball teams duked it out for nearly two hours the first time they met this season.

Escalon jumped out to a 2-1 lead in that Sept. 29 match before Ripon rallied to take the final two games and claim both the match and sole possession of first place in the Trans-Valley League.

The TVL's top two teams will battle it out again on Thursday night, when Ripon travels to Escalon to battle the Cougars in a highly anticipated rematch.

Ripon (21-5, 8-0 TVL) was able to get past Escalon (18-3, 7-1 TVL) the first time thanks to big performances from Cheyann Deprue, who notched 23 kills and 11 digs, and setter Kelsey Johnston, who racked up 55 assists against the Cougars.

To beat Escalon a second time, Ripon will have to find a way to contain the Cougars' Kaitlyn Brayton, who tallied a whopping 25 kills and four aces.

CCC — Led by Jaclyn Frank and Nicole Heller, Central California Conference-leading Atwater upped its league mark to 6-0 with Thursday's 3-0 win over Pitman.

Frank had 12 kills and 15 digs blocks in the match, while Heller had 12 kills of her own to go along with nine blocks.

Elsewhere in the CCC, Buhach Colony (5-1) remained a game back of the Falcons after winning a 3-2 marathon match against Golden Valley by a count of 22-25, 25-22, 26-24, 17-25, 19-17. Megan Callahan led the way for the Thunder with 19 kills, 17 digs and two aces.

The loss knocked the Cougars (4-2) two games off the pace.

Celeste Castillo did all she could to keep GV in the match, finishing with 28 digs, 19 kills and 10 blocks. Katelyn Bennett was also stellar in defeat for the Cougars, producing 24 digs, 19 kills and four aces.

VOL — Valley Oak League fans surely have Oct. 28 circled on their calendars.

That's when unbeaten Sonora (10-0 VOL) travels to Oakdale to take on the defending champion Mustangs (9-1 VOL), whose only league loss this season came at the hands of the Wildcats, 3-0, back on Sept. 30.

Sonora's Blume twins, Hanah and Sarah, dominated the match, with Hanah delivering 17 kills and Sarah recording 21 assists. Ashley Pittman contributed 11 digs for the Wildcats, who had won nine consecutive matches and 11 of 13 overall entering play Tuesday.

Oakdale will look for big games from the Powell sisters — senior twin co-captains Jaci and Juli and sophomore Domi — in the rematch.

WAC — The Western Athletic Conference volleyball championship will be on on the line Wednesday when undefeated Central Catholic travels to Newman to take on second-place Orestimba.

One game separates the teams, who will be meeting for the second time in three weeks. The host Raiders (9-0 WAC) were 3-1 winners over the Warriors in Round 1 back on Sept. 28 at Central Catholic High School.

Central Catholic coach Angela Quinteros' team carries a nine-game winning streak into the match, while coach John Labno's Warriors have won four straight since losing to the Raiders.