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Bella Vista fends off Ripon rally

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POSTED November 12, 2013 12:26 a.m.

A last-ditch effort to extend its season came up short for the Ripon High boys water polo team on Monday.

The Indians made things interesting in their final match at Whitney High. With less than a minute remaining, they converted on an exclusion to close to within one and came up with a big stop for one last possession against Capital Valley Conference champion Bella Vista, which held on to win 9-8 and advance to the semifinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.

“It was a really good game,” Ripon coach Erik Zador said. “I didn’t come in with any huge expectations, I just hoped we could come in and play a heck of a game and they did.”

The Broncos (14-10) will take on the winner of the El Camino-River City quarterfinal Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. Ripon (14-12) missed out on an opportunity to reach the semifinals for a second consecutive season.

Sophomore Kole Gonzales netted five goals on nine attempts. Junior Zach Scudder added two goals to go with a team-high four steals. Nathaniel Gagnon contributed one goal. Caleb Rogers, the lone senior starter, had three steals. Sophomore goalie Darney Mack recorded seven saves.

Ripon’s home pool is under repair, forcing the water polo teams to practice at Modesto Junior College or in Oakdale. The Indians didn’t get to prepare in the water between matches after rolling past Los Banos 21-5 in Saturday’s opener.

“We had to fight huge adversities this year,” Zador said. “Considering we had no pool for two months and we have a few freshmen and sophomores on the varsity team we did real well.”

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