RIPON — One goal was all it took for Ripon to advance in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs on Thursday.
Megan Harlan’s corner kick hit Cindy Alvarez on the opposite post for a header in the 45th minute, and the third-seeded Indians cruised past No. 6 Linden 1-0 at Stouffer Field.
“I would have liked to have scored another goal to ease my stress level, but I can’t complain about how we dominated the game defensively,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said.
Goalie Courtney Slamon was untested throughout as Ripon (19-5) accumulated a 23-2 shot advantage. Linden (10-8-4) had just one of its shot placed on frame, which Slamon handled with ease.
Things didn’t always go smoothly for the Indians, who had shake off a rusty start before creating scoring chances. DeBruyn credited Hailey Monroe for getting things rolling. The senior midfielder missed Ripon’s last two Trans-Valley League matches with a pulled hamstring, and her coach hoped keep her on the sideline for the postseason opener.
“We came out kind of lethargic and were not talking on the field,” DeBruyn said. “I put her in and there was an instant change in how we played. It’s amazing how she was able to kind of settle everybody.
“Linden got their shots off in the first part of the game, but after that it was locked down.”
Ripon previously downed Linden 2-0 in a nonleague contest. DeBruyn expects an even tougher challenge in the semifinal round with second-seeded Capital Christian of Sacramento. The Cougars (12-2-2) captured the last two SJS Division VI titles and shut out Hilmar 3-0 in their first-round game.
“It will be more of an open game, real up and down,” DeBruyn said. “It comes down to who can create the best opportunities and who finishes those opportunities.”