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GOAL ORIENTED

Sidtikun ready for next level after decorated career at Ripon

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GOAL ORIENTED

Ripon High’s Tia Sidtikun is the Manteca Bulletin’s 2013 All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

CHRIS LEONARD/LeonardPhoto.com/


POSTED July 11, 2013 12:28 a.m.

Just how excited is Tia Sidtikun for soccer’s next stop, a coastal college with a coming-of-age program?

She’s embraced the take-home exam fashioned by Cal State Monterey Bay women’s soccer coach Erin Reinke.

The test is of the mind and body, a conditioning packet chock-full of workouts and dietary information that will prepare Sidtikun for the rigors of her freshman campaign.

Bring it on, said Sidtikun, the Bulletin’s All-Area Girls Soccer MVP.

CSU Monterey’s season kicks off sometime in August and the wait between now and then will be excruciating for Sidtikun.

“I’m sooo ready for it to start,” she said on the eve of college registration. “They gave us our summer conditioning packets and that’s all I’ve been doing. It’s so exciting.”

Sidtikun, a stout 5-foot-8 midfielder, is ready to make the leap.

By all accounts, she maxed out her accomplishments during a four-year varsity experience at Ripon High. She won a Sac-Joaquin Section championship as a freshman and was a four-time all-Trans Valley League first-team selection.

“One of the most pleasurable athletes I recall working with,” Ripon assistant coach Bryce Perkins said. “When you got a high-skill level like she has, it doesn’t always come in a package with cooperation, team work and humility. Sometimes you get quite the opposite.

“Credit Tia that has talented as she was she carried herself with a lot of humility and grace and a lot of cooperation with lesser skilled players. She really helped make others better.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anybody as talented as her as long as I’ve been coaching.”

For her last trick, Sidtikun led the Indians back to the postseason after a one-year absence.

Though Sidtikun played out of position in head coach Jose Bobadilla’s formation – she is a natural defensive midfielder and will play the “stopper” position in college – she thrived in attack mode.

She had 20 goals and 13 assists, including a signature effort against Riverbank. Sidtikun accounted for all the scoring in a 6-2 rout, notching four goals and two assists.

Ripon finished third in the TVL table at 7-3-2 and 10-6-2 overall, well below expectation. The Indians were eliminated in the first round of the Division IV tournament by Central Catholic, 2-0.

Sidtikun believed Ripon had the talent to contend for a league championship, but back-to-back home losses to Hilmar and Escalon knocked the Indians from contention.

No matter.

She is content with the memories and friendships she’s made along the way.

“We didn’t do as well as I wanted us to do,” Sidtikun said, “but it was fun being out there and finishing my fourth year with the girls. There were a lot of good memories.”

Many of them were created by Sidtikun, a physical force in the middle of the field.

She was at her best in crunch time.

Sidtikun robbed Hughson of a win, helping Ripon salvage a 1-1 tie with a penalty kick. The draw was part of the Indians’ five-game unbeaten streak to start league play.

“She was at very best when she knew that the situation was critical and somebody had to get the job done,” Perkins said. “She would light up all of a sudden. When you were down 1-0 and you’re just that close, she found a way to power her way in and make it happen.”

Sidtikun wanted the pressure. A cerebral player whose first instinct is to set up others, Sidtikun relished the opportunity to own the spotlight.

“When we were down, I tried to make stuff happen,” she said matter-of-factly. “I like having that pressure – and the feeling when you do succeed. It pushed you even harder.”

Her value to the Ripon High girls soccer program cannot be understated. While the area was rich with soccer talent, most of which congregated at programs like East Union, Manteca and Ripon Christian, Sidtikun was arguably the most important to her team’s win-loss record.

Just how much she meant to the Indians is a question Bobadilla and Perkins must answer in earnest.

Right now, they’ve got no leads.

“Her leaving our team, I’d say is the largest vacating gap that I can recall at Ripon High,” Perkins said. “We’ve had some good players. We’ve had a number of them. It always seems like when we would lose a player, you had an idea of how to backfill behind them. With Tia, she’s going to be a hard person to replace. I don’t know how we’ll do it.”

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