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Buitrago led state in scoring, named Southern League MVP; RC baseball, softball honored

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Ripon Christian freshman Abby Buitrago (above) was named the Southern League’s soccer MVP, while cousins Travis (right) and Danny Vander Molen (far right) were all-league first-team selections in b...

JONAMAR JACINTO/Bulletin file photo/Illustration by CURT MURRAY/ The Bulletin

POSTED May 28, 2014 12:38 a.m.

 Abby Buitrago tallied 52 goals, led the entire state of California in points and guided her team to its first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section soccer championship.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you of Buitrago’s promise and potential, chew on this: The Ripon Christian freshman has three more years to pick on defenses.

Buitrago was named the Southern League’s Most Valuable Player by its coaches, completing Ripon Christian’s sweep of the league’s major awards.

The Knights shared the Southern League title with Mariposa at 13-1 and head coach Kevin Tameling was voted its Coach of the Year. Ripon Christian was 21-2-1 and won its final 12 games, including the Division VII championship in a thrilling penalty kick shootout.

One of the heroes was Buitrago, a fearless freshman, whose penalty kick goal sealed the Knights’ victory over Millennium. Buitrago slipped her shot into the lower left corner for the win and then was mobbed by teammates near the middle of the field.

Buitrago’s introduction to high school soccer couldn’t have gone any better. She finished with 52 goals, tops in California and fifth most in the nation this spring, according to MaxPreps.

She also had 11 assists for a total of 115 points, tops in California by a wide margin and eighth-best in the nation.

The section title was Ripon Christian’s first in girls soccer and avenged a shutout loss one year earlier in the D-VII final – its first-ever appearance.

Buitrago was joined on the Southern League’s honor roll by teammates Adrianna Van Groningen, Teagan Manus and Samantha Carvahlo.

Van Groningen (seven goals, seven assists) and Manus (13 goals and seven assists in 13 games) are seniors. Carvalho (four goals, nine assists) is a sophomore.

Sophomore Jessica Van Vliet and junior goalie Bryanna Heida were also honorable mentions, rounding out Ripon Christian’s award winners. Heida made two clutch stops in the section final’s penalty kick shootout.


Cousins Danny and Travis Vander Molen headlined Ripon Christian’s selections to the all-Southern League team.

Joining the talented Vander Molens on the first team was sophomore pitcher Conner McGovern, who was 5-4 with a 1.22 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 46 innings.

Travis Vander Molen was a force in the field and at the plate for Ripon Christian, which finished third in league at 10-4.

The sophomore was a 5-3 with a 2.04 ERA and 74 strikeouts. He came on in relief in the Knights’ playoff loss to Foresthill and fanned 13 batters over the final seven innings.

He led Ripon Christian in nearly every major offensive category, including average (.468), slugging percentage (.806), hits (29), RBI (30), stolen bases (14), doubles (11), triples (2) and home runs (2).

Danny Vander Molen was Ripon Christian’s spark plug at the top of the lineup. He batted .344 and reached base 44 percent of the time, often leading to a run-scoring situation. He had a team-high 24 runs. The junior also caught Travis Vander Molen and McGovern.

Senior David Henderson’s power and production were also acknowledged. The all-SL honorable mention hit .414 with 11 extra-basehits and scored a team-high 24 runs.


Ripon Christian placed three players on the all-Southern League team, including lone first-team recipient Shelby Vrieling.

The senior standout batted .412 with team-highs in on-base percentage (.444) and hits (21).  She started all 14 games for the hard-luck Knights, going 2-12 with a 3.30 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 87 innings.

Senior Courtney Perrilliat (.340 batting average, 13 runs, 17 hits and nine RBI) and junior Rachel Carvalho (.265 average, nine runs, 13 hits) were selected as honorable mentions for the Knights, 2-12 in Southern League play.

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