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Knights’ late flurry stuns LG

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POSTED October 29, 2013 12:45 a.m.

Second-half comebacks are nothing new to Ripon Christian’s boys soccer team.

The Knights are in the middle of one right now.

Their late-season charge toward a postseason berth resumed with Monday’s 3-2 upset of Southern League-leading Le Grand, which held a one-goal lead at halftime and was up by two by the midway point of the second half. Danny Vander Molen punctuated RC’s 8-minute rally with the game-winner.

Ripon Christian (6-3-1 SL, 11-6-3 overall) is 4-0-1 since its 3-0 defeat at Le Grand on Oct. 3. It is now in position to clinch a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff spot for a second straight season, needing only to win one of its final two — Mariposa today and Gustine Thursday, both at home. The Knights could even steal a share of the SL title if they win out and Le Grand (8-2-1, 8-3-1) loses to Gustine on Wednesday.

This much is certain: RC should not be counted out of anything just yet.

“Our guys came out ready to fight toward a win today, but Le Grand scored first and took a 1-0 halftime lead,” Ripon Christian coach Keith Terpsma said. “We’ve been down to Le Grand at the half before and the guys knew it could be done.”

It was.

Down 2-0, sophomore Travis Vander Molen scored in the 61st and 65th minutes to tie it, capitalizing on a well-timed pass from Jake Van Vuren for the first one and Andrew Manes’ corner-kick cross to head in the next.

Travis’ cousin Danny Vander Molen capped it off in the 68th, rolling it past the Le Grand keeper on a 1-on-1 following a through ball from Manes.

Lukas Vermuelen recorded six saves total while the defense held off the Bulldogs attack for the win.

“That was an amazing second half,” Terpsma said. “I’m very proud of them.”



VALLEY OAK LEAGUE

Manteca 2, Lathrop 2

The Buffaloes (8-3-2 VOL, 16-3-3 overall) were able to salvage a tie thanks to Marcus Montano’s second-half assists to Kevin Rodriguez and Jesus Ponce.

Lathrop (4-5-4, 10-8-4) drew a large, spirited crowd for senior night and took a one-goal lead into halftime thanks to Danny Becerra’s score off Kevin Alvarez’s assist. Juan Ortega doubled the Spartans’ lead early in the second half before Manteca took over.

Manteca can assure itself of second place by tying or beating visiting East Union on Wedesday.

Weston Ranch 2,
Oakdale 2

The third and final postseason berth out of the VOL comes down to Weston Ranch’s regular-season finale at Sierra on Wednesday.

The Cougars (7-4-2, 15-5-3) nearly punched their first-ever playoff ticket Monday. They nursed a 2-0 halftime lead with goals from Francisco Garcia and Hector Maldonado. Joseph Mayorca assisted both.

Oakdale, which pinned down the outright championship, scored in the final 10 minutes to escape with the draw.

Sonora 2, Sierra 1

The Timberwolves (6-4-3, 10-7-4) have now dropped three out of their last four, the latest being this stunner at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium. Bryan Ramos scored off Caleb Ngui’s assists for their only goal.

Sierra now must beat Weston Ranch on senior night Wednesday to make the playoffs.



TRANS-VALLEY LEAGUE

Ripon 6, Orestimba 1

Freshman Thomas Sidtikun recorded his first varsity hat trick, while senior standout Roberto Alvarez also netted three goals in Ripon’s blowout win.

The Indians (9-0-2 TVL, 16-5-2 overall) poured in all of their goals in a 35-minute stretch. Orestimba didn’t strike until the 76th minute.

Ripon plays for its first league title in school history Wednesday when it hosts Hilmar. A win clinches sole possession for the crown, while a tie forces a likely share with reigning champ Riverbank.

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