RIPON — Perfection.
Ripon wrapped up the boys Valley Oak League water polo campaign undefeated with a 16-8 thumping of Kimball on Tuesday at the Ervin Zador Aquatic Center.
The Indians celebrated senior night Tuesday and that gave Ty Wells some added incentive. Wells had a hand in the first four Ripon goals, scoring three and assisting Lucas Esenwein (five goals, two assists) for the fourth.
Wells finished with six goals and an assist.
“We’re a good team,” Wells said. “We have been working really hard this year, and since this was senior night I was really pumped for this game more than any other.
“Playing a team like Kimball really helped us out to prepare for sections because they are no joke of a team.”
Behind three unassisted Esenwein goals, the Indians (6-0 VOL) built a 12-3 halftime lead. Ripon led 16-5 going into the third period when the Jaguars (2-4) scored three unanswered goals.
Ripon’s Matt De La O allowed just five goals through the first three periods and finished with seven saves.
“The defense was very helpful,” De La O said. “We played defense really well and that made my job a whole lot easier.”
Noah Esenwein added four goals and two assists for the Indians and Kai West had one goal with Maika West getting two assists.
Although the game was never in doubt, Ripon coach Erik Zador thought his team could have come out stronger, as he is looking forward to the playoffs.
“We could always come out better,” Zador said. “A couple of my boys made some bad decisions shooting and there were some better options we could have taken.
“I feel pretty good about the playoffs. If the boys continue to play like they have been we have a good shot at making it to the championship — that’s if all goes well and they do what they are supposed to do. We can compete with all the teams in our section.”
Kimball 7, Ripon 5
The Jaguars scored three consecutive goals in the second half to pull away for the win.
The Indians (3-3) tied the score at 4-4 two minutes into the third period on a goal by Amber Scheid (three goals, assist) assisted by Mallory Brubaker (goal, two assists). Kimball (5-1) got the next three goals and Ripon did not score again until there was 30 seconds remaining in the match on a goal by Molly Burton (goal, assist) assisted by Brubaker.
“I have been on the varsity three years, and that is the closest we have come to Kimball in that time,” said Scheid, a junior. “I think we have come a long way since my freshman year and I think we have a good group of girls to build on.”
Indians goalkeeper Madyson Valencia is just a freshman and posted five saves.
“I have never played goalie before this season,” Valencia said. “And it is really interesting to see how far everyone has come this year.”
Midway through the first period Scheid gave Ripon a 2-1 lead on her second goal of the night which was unassisted. With 3:18 left in the first half the Indians took their last lead at 3-2 when Scheid assisted Brubaker.
“We could battle just so much,” Indians coach Matt Corgiat said. “I think they had a little more experience than we did and they were able to capitalize on our missed opportunities.”