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Weston Ranch wins thriller in shootout

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The Cougars jumped for joy Thursday after beating Ripon High on penalty kicks in the Buff Cup opener.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED September 3, 2010 2:43 a.m.
The Weston Ranch Cougars jumped out on Ripon High with a quick first-half goal, but the Indians would claw back only to see their come-from-behind hopes sliced by the last of five penalty kicks in the Cougars’ shootout win Thursday in the 3rd Annual Buffalo Cup opener.

Weston Ranch (1-0-1) watched as captain Francisco Portillo’s penalty kick rolled in untouched by the bottom right post, pulling the Cougars a game away from the tournament final.

“I know these guys can play a lot better than they showed me today,” Weston Ranch head coach Carlos Gaspar said. “I know that you have bad games throughout the season, but I can only hope that this was ours.

“We have to come out stronger on Saturday and show these teams what we have.”

The Cougars gave Ripon a brief glimpse of their undeniable capabilities, beating the Indians back on a host of transition opportunities, and making good on their first one when Portillo displayed his skill set. He made a great move in the open field, penetrating towards the box before slipping a perfect pass to David Molina who missed the goal opportunity, leaving Portillo to clean up with a score in the 11th minute.

“I know it’s early, but this one feels great,” Portillo said. “The Cougars have been on losing streaks for most of the recent seasons, and now we want Weston Ranch to have a name for itself this season.

“We want everybody to stop talking bad about Weston Ranch.”
Ripon surely earned the Cougars’ respect, outplaying the Cougars over the second half of action, getting a timely goal from Alex Wever after Bryant Macias’ point-blank range shot bounced out to Wever’s wheel-house.

“I was happy that we were able to put a couple in,” Ripon head coach Jamie DeBruyn said of his squads’ second-half. “I thought that we possessed the ball more than Weston Ranch did, even in the first half, but that team counters fast.

“I think their first couple of counter attempts really caught us off guard.”
Weston Ranch got its second goal when Elias Venegas headed in a perfect cross in the 55th minute, reclaiming the Cougars’ lead. Ripon would answer in just over five minutes on a perfect one-on-one finish from Zach Slamon.

Ripon (2-1-1) will resume tournament action with a 10:30 am contest against Patterson Saturday, while the Cougars will meet up with Bret Harte in a replay of the last year’s tournament championship, also at 10:30 a.m.
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