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Cougars claim Big Valley Tournament championship
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MODESTO – After struggling with a 1-6-1 start to the season, Weston Ranch turned it all around with an impressive 3-0 showing Saturday at the Big Valley Tournament, claiming the championship.

In a 2-0 win over Sacramento County Day, Marissa Bradshaw and Kimberly Coil both found net, and Bradshaw scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 win over Ripon Christian in Game 2.

The Cougars won the title with a 3-2 advantage on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie in regulation with Rio Vista Christian.

Bradshaw, Stephanie Esquirvel and Maritza Amaya were all good on their PK attempts.

“I just have to thank the players for all of their hard work,” Cougars head coach Carlos Gaspar said. “I’m so proud of them. They’ve played so many games in the last week and half, but it didn’t matter how tired and sore they were.

“They played their hearts out.”

Ripon Christian, meanwhile, finished third overall with a 2-1 showing.

In Game 1, RC dispatched Buckingham Charter, 4-1 behind two goals from Kailee Adams and one each from Kathryn Van Groningen and Ashley Roberts.

RC took a 3-0 first-half lead in the third-place match against host Big Valley, before winning it 3-1.

Kirsten Lown finished with two goals and Van Groningen added a third.

“I was pleased with our play today, but I would have liked to have a full game against Weston Ranch,” RC head coach Travis Haveman said. “We were definitely evenly matched, and we were offensively strong in the last 10 minutes.”

Beth Van Vliet battled through a cold to play all three games in net, and finished with just three goals allowed in 150 minutes of game time.

RC (0-2 Trans Valley League, 5-3 overall) faces Ripon at home Monday.

“We’re excited to make our mark on the league this year,” Haveman said.

— Brandon Petersen