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Upstart Valadao strikes twice in rivalry win

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Ripon High forward Flavio Valadao scored his second goal of Tuesday’s rivalry showdown with visiting Ripon Christian with this easy tap-in.


POSTED September 11, 2013 1:10 a.m.

RIPON — Ripon High may finally have itself a go-to scorer, and it comes from an unlikely source.

A converted wing midfielder, Flavio Valadao added two more goals to his team-leading total of seven in Tuesday’s 5-1 thumping of rival Ripon Christian at Stouffer Field. Valadao had just two goals and four assists for all of 2012.

“He has wanted to play forward ever since last year,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “It was always, ‘Put me at forward, coach. Put me at forward,’ but he was real inconsistent. This year he’s finishing.”

Valadao finished his first two opportunities in the 3rd and 11th minutes Tuesday to push Ripon ahead, 2-0. While not as skillful with the ball as some of his teammates, the rangy Valadao has a knack for being at the right place at the right time.

In the third minute, Valadao began to make his run into the penalty box as Mauricio Aguirre delivered a through ball to Emmanuel Sanchez on the right wing. Sanchez dribbled to the corner and sent a perfect cross to Valadao, who blew it past Ripon Christian keeper Lukas Vermeulen (6 saves) on the first touch near the opposite post.

Later, Valadao took advantage of Ripon Christian’s mishandling of the ball in the goal area, as Vermeulen and two defenders scrambled to clear the ball away. Valadao slipped in and guided the ball into the net from point-blank.

“Sometimes it just comes natural, sometimes it comes from repetition in practice,” Valadao said. “You practice where you need to be and try to anticipate where the ball is going. Our midfielders know how to put it where you want it so that it’s just easy tap-in goals.”

Whether he is the striker remains to be seen, but for now DeBruyn and Co. will continue working on feeding the hot foot. DeBruyn hasn’t had a true striker since the days of Eric Cavanaugh (2005-08), the program’s all-time leading varsity scorer with 90 goals.

“With Jack (Brierly, the team’s top scorer with 12 goals last year) leaving somebody had to fill in,” Valadao said. “He carried us a lot. I try to be that guy and if it happens to be me then great. If not, then I’m confident it will be somebody else on the team. I’m just trying to do my part for the team, which is the top priority.”

Sanchez gave the Indians (7-4) a three-goal lead in the 30th minute, capping a terrific run that included Brock Herrin and Aguirre. Aguirre pounded the ball into the crossbar from the 18-yard line, and Sanchez was there to head it in off one bounce.

Ripon was in full control of the match, outshooting RC, 23-6. The Indians had their lead extended to 4-1 in the 46th minute after Vermuelen thwarted Aguirre’s one-on-one attempt. The ball ended up deflecting off a Ripon Christian defender and into the goal.

Herrin capped the final score off David Alvarez’s cross in the 71st minute.

“They got some good crosses in and caught us out of position, and I think we should have been more ready for that,” Ripon Christian coach Keith Terpsma said. “Once one guy was out of position, the next guy was out of position.”

Andrew Manes scored his team’s lone goal in the final minute of the first half to give Ripon Christian some life. His one-on-one opportunity was set up by sophomore Travis Vander Molen’s through pass. With leading scorer Danny Vander Molen out nursing a sore hamstring, the Knights (5-3-1) relied on breakaways to generate offensive threats.

“Offensively, we need to realize that the long ball doesn’t work against teams like that,” Terpsma said. “We have to keep things little, stick to the details and work on switching fields more than we did today. They know it in their heads; they just have to be able to (execute) it in games.”

Both clubs have one more tune-up before kicking off league play. Ripon Christian travels to Hughson on Thursday, while Ripon heads to Gregori for a rematch of their Aug. 31 meeting during the Hughson Husky Cup. Gregori won 1-0 on a penalty kick.

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