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POSTED November 14, 2013 1:38 a.m.

GALT — Ripon’s eventful 2013 campaign ended rather uneventfully at Galt High’s Erv Hatzenbuhler Field on Wednesday.

The first-time Trans-Valley League champion was dealt a 4-0 loss by second-seeded Galt in the semifinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V finals, and the visiting Indians were fortunate the score wasn’t even more lopsided.

No. 3 Ripon (17-6-3) was simply no match for talent-rich Galt (18-4-3), which had an overwhelming 24-6 advantage in shot attempts. The Indians had gone two full months without losing, as they dropped their Sept. 12 non-league finale to Division-II semifinalist Gregori.

“That is a good team,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said of Galt. “They’re big, they’re fast and I don’t think we’ve seen a team like them since Gregori and Manteca. Unfortunately, they dropped down to us (in Division V).”

The Warriors were finalists in the more challenging Division IV bracket a year ago. Ripon can thank Dixon of the Golden Empire League for having to see Galt. Dixon defeated Lindhurst in the regular-season finale to sneak into the postseason at Division IV. A loss would have allowed West Campus to qualify in Division V, keeping Galt at IV.

Now, Galt has a good chance to gain its first section title this Saturday at Stockton’s Stagg High against No. 5 Riverbank, the TVL’s runner-up.

“Riverbank is going to have their hands full on Saturday,” DeBruyn said. “It would have been nice to compete in the section finals for the first time but we ran into a good team. If we’re going to go out to a better team I’m OK with that.”

The quick-striking Warriors displayed their superiority at the outset. Alejandro Renteria, one of two Warriors with more than 20 goals on the season, broke away down the left sideline and was inside Ripon’s goal area within seconds of the start of the match. Ripon goalie Jonathan Soto (9 saves) was able to snatch the ball away from Renteria’s feet before a shot was taken.

Soto, however, would be under constant duress for the remainder of the contest. Galt scored in the third minute when the ball slipped through the keeper’s hands off Tony Gonzalez’s throw-in.

Issac Martinez, Galt’s other outstanding striker, scored in the 26th and 41st minutes. Both he and Renteria botched several more opportunities to expand the lead. Freshman reserve Fabian Rodriguez put away the final goal in the 79th minute after Tito Robles fed him a perfect cross.

“They’re the better team,” said Ripon midfielder Thomas Sidtikun, who finishes the season as the team’s leading scorer with 15 goals and six assists as a freshman. “They possessed the ball better than us and they developed (runs) better than us. We just didn’t step up to their level.”

Sidtikun had a chance to cut the deficit to one mere seconds before the halftime whistle. After a corner kick, Matt Uecker kept the ball within striking distance when he placed it perfectly to Alejandro Aguilar to the right of the penalty box. Aguilar skillfully sent a negative pass off a heel, setting up Sidtikun’s strong shot that zipped directly to goalie Antonio Welch.

The rest of Ripon’s shots were taken by Roberto Alvarez, who was a spectator from midfield for most of the match. The Indians were nearly shut out completely from attempting a shot in the second half until his short blast was deflected away from Welch in the 76th minute.

Alvarez relishes his short time spent with the program. The 6-foot-2 standout spent his first three years playing club ball before finally joining the high school squad as a senior.

“One year, but a lot of memories,” Alvarez said. “I’m not really disappointed. We gave it our all this year. We’re still TVL champs and they can’t take that away from us.”

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