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Indians one win away from back-to-back section titles

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Ripon's Kelsey Meeuwse races for control of the ball during Thursday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division V soccer playoff game against Central Catholic.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED May 21, 2010 3:10 a.m.
RIPON – The Ripon Indians looked like they were in for a cozy ride to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V soccer final, but a valiant Central Catholic comeback halted any early celebrations.

That would not, but would not be enough to detour the Indians in a 3-2 semifinal win Thursday.

Ripon (19-2-3) advanced to the championship match against Linden Saturday with a tenacious defensive effort accompanied by impressive goal scoring from a deep and talented Ripon attack squad. The Indians got a first half goal from the school’s all-time leading scorer Renae McFadden and seemingly put the game out of reach with a beautiful goal from Kallie Jacobs five minutes into the second half.

The Raiders (20-4-3) rallied from the two-goal deficit within a 15-minute span.

“I never thought that they would come back down 2-0,” Ripon assistant coach Bryce Perkins said. “I was shocked with the first goal, I was shocked with that second goal. When they tied it up you have to know that we were worried.

“But I never give up on this offense.”

The Indians responded, taking advantage of a Central Catholic keeper change in the 65th minute when sophomore Rose Beeler hauled in a loose ball and promptly nailed a left-footed rocket from 10-yards out for the game winning goal.

“Rosie missed one early in the game where she had a dead-eye on it,” Perkins said of an earlier opportunity. “To get a surprise out of her like that was nice. That really made her day, and she’s a sophomore so we love to see that out of her.”

Beeler’s goal in the 69th minute provided separation, but Central Catholic would not go quiet. The Raiders scrounged up three more shots on goal, but Morgan Torres-Unger was more than ready for the challenge. Torres-Unger was brilliant in the first half and outdid herself in the crucial moments of the second half.  She got more than enough support from her mid-fielders, clamping down on a Central Catholic offense that averages nearly five goals a contest.

“I think we won the game in the middle,” Perkins said. “You can hand the game balls to Tia (Sidtikun), to (Lauren) Goeppert, to Katherine Ratto and Thalia (Bobadilla) in that middle.

“Those four just held that ball, they controlled it, they won them, they distributed, those four really were the difference in this game.”

As a unit the group was outstanding in holding Central Catholic’s premiere weapon in check, locking their leading goal scorer, Sara Pimentel, scoreless in the contest. Pimentel received a yellow card in the 55th minute and never returned. Manteca resident, Maddy Meyer, had a solid effort for the Raiders, but could not convert on a free kick just outside of the 18-yard line.

McFadden got the Indians on the board with an electric goal in the 29th minute. Banging home a free kick from the far sideline, sticking the top shelf from 40-yards out. The goal would be the lone first half score, but it was they in putting Ripon in the driver’s seat.

“We faced them in sections last year and it was a tough game, so we knew coming into it that they were going to want it,” Jacobs said. “Our team just came together, we already knew that we were going to fight no matter what.

“We gave 110 percent and it was enough.”

Jacobs’s goal came on the heels of a perfectly timed pass from Sidtikum, waiting for the perfect moment to assist a breaking Jacobs. Jacobs made one subtle move on a defender and line a left-footer passed a helpless Central Catholic goalie.

Now the Indians’ focus is aimed at back-to-back section titles. Ripon will have to conquer the Mother Lode League’s No. 1 seed in Linden, who comes into the contest sporting an 18-game unbeaten streak.

“Like I have told the girls, we take this one game at a time,” Ripon head coach Jose Bobadilla said. “I think that we are ready for Saturday. We are going to face another great team, but I think we are ready for them.

“We are not going with any strategies or anything, we’re just going to go play and have fun.”

The section championship is scheduled to begin at noon at Lincoln High in Stockton.
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