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UNSTOPPABLE

Talented striker helped once-struggling program reach unprecedented heights

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UNSTOPPABLE

Ripon High's Renae McFadden is the 2010 Manteca Bulletin All-Area Girls Soccer Athlete of the Year.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/


POSTED July 4, 2010 2:16 a.m.
Ripon High’s unprecedented four-year run between 2007-10 in girls soccer wouldn’t have been possible without the influx of talent that poured into the program.

Talent came and went during that span, but there was one constant thorn punctured into the side of opposing teams.

“Keep an eye on No. 17!” they’d say.

But even that was no easy task for defenders.

Few have the blend of skill, blazing speed and ability to take on entire defenses single-handedly of 2010 All-Area Girls Soccer MVP Renae McFadden.

The supremely-talented striker parlayed her rare gifts into a school record-breaking 137 career goals and a scholarship to play for the University of the Pacific in Stockton. She was also courted by some of UOP’s Big West rivals as well as University of Nevada—Reno of the Western Athletic Conference.

With McFadden leading the way offensively, Ripon enjoyed four straight seasons of 20 wins or more, four Trans Valley League championships and two Sac-Joaquin Section titles.

McFadden is aware of the individual accomplishments — including being named to the all-TVL team all four years while earning the conference’s Top Offensive Player honor this past spring — but she shrugs at the mention of them.

“It never even crossed my mind,” she said. “I mean, it’s nice to have the recognition and the records, but it honestly never crossed my mind until people started to bring it to my attention.”

McFadden would rather relish in the accomplishments of the team, which had never won a league championship before her freshman year.

The Indians’ 2009 season was the best the program has ever produced, and it included the first of two straight SJS Division IV championships. McFadden’s 44 goals that year is Ripon’s single-season record and the second most accumulated in the state for spring soccer.

She admitted there was some uncertainty over Ripon’s ability to repeat as section champs going into her senior year.

“Different seasons, different teams,” McFadden said. “I would have been happy with the TVL title, and at the beginning we thought we had a chance to win the section. The closer we got to the end we knew we had a great chance to go back-to-back.”

Ripon’s 2010 postseason opponents were the same ones it played in 2009 — Hilmar, Central Catholic and Linden. It was tougher to run through that gauntlet the second time around.

The Indians prevailed with three nerve-wracking, one-goal victories: 1-0 over Hilmer, 3-2 over Central Catholic and 1-0 over Linden in the title game. McFadden scored once in each contest, capping her senior campaign with 37 goals.

“There weren’t any teams that we looked at and said, ‘We are definitely going to beat this team,’” McFadden said. “It was pretty much three real good games back to back to back.

“I think that’s what made this one feel a little more special than winning the first one, because it was a lot tougher the second time around. And I think it meant more to us seniors.”

Ripon graduated seven seniors, including TVL Defensive Player of the Year Thalia Bobadilla, three-time all-TVL team forward Kallie Jacobs and four-year varsity starter and record-holding goalkeeper Morgan Torres-Unger.

“I think what we accomplished in four years is pretty impressive,” McFadden said.

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