19-year streak snapped

Huron Heights boys, Ripley girls volleyball champs

By Josh Howald

For the first time in almost two decades, the Ripley Huron Community School boys volleyball team did not win the last game of the day.

Jeremy Lange lof Ripley leaps for a kill in the Southwest Region championship volleyball game Thursday at the Davidson Centre. (Josh Howald photo)

While the Ripley girls cruised to another Southwest Regional volleyball championship, the boys were stunned by Huron Heights Public School in straight sets in the title match.

The HHPS win ended a reported 19 consecutive elementary school championships for Ripley.

“I’m new to the area, I just heard about this streak and I’m only now learning about the rivalry between (Ripley and Huron Heights) schools,” said Huron Heights coach Rick Van Pinxteren.

“Our team is hard working, and never gets down on each other. The boys are all friends away from school anyways, so they are an easy bunch to coach.”

Huron Heights was swept by Ripley in exhibition action last week, and then again in the round robin portion of Thursday’s tournament at the new Davidson Centre gymnasium. Ripley didn’t drop a set in the round robin, and Huron Heights finished second, qualifying for the championship game with straight set wins over Kincardine Township - Tiverton Public School, Lucknow Central School and Hillcrest Public School of Teeswater. Ripley dumped Huron Heights 25-20, 25-19 in the round robin.

The championship game saw Huron Heights take a 25-20, 25-19 straight set win to earn a berth in yesterday’s County Championship tournament in Wiarton.

“We made the most of our time off the court,” said Van Pinxteren. “The boys sat and watched the other games and learned what each team was doing. I think it was the difference in the end.”

Jenelle Smeltzer makes a play at the net in the girls championship game. (Josh Howald photo)

Those watching the girls action would have seen Ripley cruise past Lucknow in the final. Ripley took a straight set win, 25-15, 25-15 in that final, and will play for a County title today in Sauble Beach. The team dropped just one set all day, to Hillcrest in the round robin.

“I think it’s the best we played all year,” said Ripley co-captain Annie Leppington. “We worked together as a team, and the little things were the difference – calling the ball and keeping our feet moving.”

Thursday’s elementary school tournament was the first to be held at the Davidson Centre’s new gym, and things went well – once they started. Weather caused both Hillcrest and Lucknow to be more than an hour late for the competition. The championship games were slated for 2 p.m., and the boys final was still in progress at 4:30 p.m.

Watch next week’s Independent to see how the HHPS boys and the Ripley girls did at the County tournaments.

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