Tuesday’s Trans-Valley League rematch against Ripon was sure to have been circled on Riverbank’s calendar.
The Bruins won on their home turf 1-0, putting them on even terms with Ripon in the race for the TVL title. On Oct. 2, Ripon routed Riverbank 7-1 in a match clouded by controversy. The Bruins (5-1 TVL, 14-6-2 overall) had a player ejected in the second half and could not slow the counter-attacking Indians.
Oscar Jimenez accounted for the deciding goal in Tuesday’s match, scoring in the 32nd minute as Riverbank controlled the pace with the wind to its back.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “Riverbank had the wind first and they dominated possession. We turned it around in the second half, won possession and had many opportunities.”
Ripon striker Thomas Sidtikun had several looks but came up empty handed. Noah Lehmann even had one get denied by the right post. Goalkeeper Johnathan Soto finished with six saves.
“Both teams had their chances; they put one in and we didn’t,” DeBruyn said. “It was a great game. I couldn’t have asked anything more from my guys. They gave it everything they had. They knew what a win would do for us and they battled.”
The good news for Ripon (5-1, 11-7-1) is that it can still share the championship, which would be just the second in school history. The bad news is that one dangerous foe awaits in Escalon next week. With a two-match lead over the Cougars, however, the Indians are in the driver’s seat to obtain one of two Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths.
Ripon Christian 2,
In Ripon, Travis Vander Molen scored on assists from Andrew Manes and Danny Vander Molen in the 21st and 74th minutes. Goalie Lukas Vermeulen came up with seven saves.
The Knights (9-1-1 SL, 16-4-1) have a firm grasp of the top spot in league with three matches remaining. They next head to Gustine on Thursday.
“This win was particularly big for us as we work hard to stretch our first place lead to become league champs,” Ripon Christian coach Keith Terpsma said. “We have some tough ones ahead, so we have to keep the pressure up in practice and games.”