Co-MVPs: Abby Buitrago, Ripon Christian, So.; Ariana Jorstad, Orestimba, So.
Coach of the Year: Kevin Tameling, Ripon Christian
All-SL team: Ripon Christian — Bryanna Heida, Sr.; Jessica Van Vliet, Jr.; Samantha Carvalho, Jr.; Cynthia Van Vliet, Jr. Mariposa — Kiona Mari, Sr.; Eliza Amstutz, Jr. Orestimba — Mayela Lopez, Jr.; Le Grand — Erika Uquiza, Sr. Gustine — Rosa Barriga, Jr.; Neslie Hernandez, Jr. Waterford — Jolene Vanderstoel, So. Delhi — Diana Cervantes, Jr. Denair — Salena Ortiz, Jr.
Honorable mention: Ripon Christian — Rachel Faure, Jr.; Ellen Blankers, Sr. Mariposa — Mackenzie Shaddix, Sr.; Kayley Tedrow, Sr. Orestimba — Tacha Michel, Sr.; Jessica Marin, Sr. Le Grand — Alondra Ceja, Fr.; Gabriela Hurtado, Sr. Gustine — Jennifer Nunez, Jr.; Dalia Ruvalcaba, Sr. Delhi — Jennifer Alvarez, Sr.; Amandeep Sandhu, So.; Denair — Haley Bordenave, Sr.
By JONAMAR JACINTO
There was no slowing down Abby Buitrago and the Ripon Christian girls soccer team in the Knights’ defense of the Southern League and Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII crowns.
Buitrago, only a sophomore, repeats as Most Valuable Player in the SL, but this time she shares the honor with Orestimba standout Ariana Jorstad.
Ripon Christian (13-0-1 league, 19-6-1 overall) captured the outright league championship after earning a co-title with Mariposa in 2014. Because of their dominance in an improved league, the Knights were awarded four all-league spots, and Kevin Tameling was named Coach of the Year.
Buitrago is the state’s leading scorer for a second straight year after amassing 52 goals and 11 assists as a freshman. This year she tied heralded Oakdale star Ashley Arnett for the state lead with 42 goals to go with 11 assists.
Buitrago scored in 13 of 14 league games, but she assisted the lone goal scored by Cynthia Van Vliet in a 1-0 win over Jorstad’s third-place Warriors (8-5-1, 11-7-1). She totaled 34 goals during the league season, burning Gustine and Le Grand for five each. She also had a four-goal effort in the rematch with Orestimba.
“Last year she was a player flying under the radar and kind of took people by surprise,” Tameling said. “With her talents and ability she was able to score. This year we came into league with every single team knowing exactly who she was, and they were able to key in on her, but she was more diversified in the way she scored goals this year.”
Senior goalie Bryanna Heida, junior defender Jessica Van Vliet and junior midfielders Samantha Carvalho and Cynthia Van Vliet made the all-league team. Heida and Jessica Van Vliet helped the team start the first half of league with seven straight shutouts.
“Bryanna Heida had a great career,” Tameling said. “Some of her success was attributed to the defense and the team overall, but she really came through when we needed her. She was a rock this year.”
Carvalho, who Tameling calls “the heart of the team,” contributed eight goals and nine assists overall, and Cynthia Van Vliet (nine goals, six assists) emerged as a top offensive weapon for the Knights after a late start due to the extended basketball season.
“Sam Carvalho is probably the hardest worker on our team,” Tameling said. “Very skilled in the midfield, and she worked hard defensively and offensively. She was our key because oftentimes she’s playing against the other team’s best players.
“I expect a lot out of my central midfielders and she took those expectations and succeeded.”
Senior defender Ellen Blankers and junior midfielder Rachel Faure earned honorable mention.