DAVIS — The popular current definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
But the Ripon High volleyball team is by no means insane. They're talented, spirited and firmly believe that one day, perhaps very soon, they will defeat Christian Brothers.
For the fourth straight year, the two schools met for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 championship, and for the fourth straight year Christian Brothers came away with the title.
Thursday's match one was wilder than most, with Christian Brothers winning the first two games 25-14 and 25-20, and Ripon roaring back to tie the match with 25-14 and 25-23 wins.
The Indians then built a 9-5 lead in the final game before losing their edge and falling 15-12.
There was disappointment, but few tears on the Ripon side following the match, for a very good reason — the season is not over. Finishing second in the section means the Indians will be on the road for at least the first round of the NorCal playoffs, but they're going on nonetheless.
And at the end of that road, they're hoping for another shot at Christian Brothers.
"It just depends on matchups in NorCals," said Ripon coach Larry Keethe. "Last year we got through and met them in the NorCal finals. I'd like to do that again because next time I think we'll beat them.
"I've told them and I think the girls believe that we're as good or better than they are. We pass better, we both hit well, and we know they can't stop our hitters."
Senior middle blocker/outside hitter Lauren Feddersen, who played a major role in Ripon's mid-match rally, actually was upbeat after the draining marathon match.
"That was a lot of fun," Feddersen said. "We didn't play our best at the beginning, but we picked it up and I just we could have finished it. Hopefully we'll win on Tuesday and get to face them again. It's my senior year, so I'd like another shot at them."
After falling quickly in the first game, the Indians had a chance to break through in the second, forging a 17-17 tie before committing two service errors down the stretch.
Instead of folding, Ripon seemed relaxed to open the third game, and took control early with crisp passing along with the net play of Feddersen and Ashley Robinson.
The Indians almost lost the fourth game after building a 22-17 lead. Again, two service errors helped the Falcons as they clawed back to forge a 23-23 tie. But sophomore outside hitter Paige Norwood and Robinson delivered clean kills to finish the final two points and get the win.
Ripon took all that momentum into the fifth game, and behind two kills and a service ace from Robinson took a 9-5 lead. But Christian Brothers called time out to regroup and ran off six straight points.
With the game tied 11-11, the Falcons finished the match with four kills, three off the right arm of 6-feet, 4-inch senior Megan Anders.
"We just kept our energy up and stayed relaxed," Feddersen said. "But in the last game I think we got ahead of ourselves and we crumbled. We just needed to hold it together a little better."