Injury-hampered Ripon gave up two second-half goals by Ulises Ramirez on set pieces and are now in danger of not repeating as league champions no thanks to Thursday’s 2-0 loss at Escalon.
Going into the week, the Indians (5-2, league, 11-8-1 overall) had sole possession of the Trans-Valley League’s top spot but went on to drop two straight on the road, starting with Tuesday’s 1-0 decision at first-place Riverbank. Despite the latest defeat they clinched the second of two SJS playoff spots in the TVL. Although they split their two matches with Escalon, the Indians gets the tiebreaking edge for beating the Cougars 3-2 in head-to-head aggregate scoring.
“That’s the good news,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “The bad news is that in a 48-hour period we went from a possible No. 1, 2 or 3 seed for the playoffs to likely going on the road (in the first round).”
Juan Vazquez assisted both goals for Escalon (4-3, 9-8), first with a free kick and then with a corner kick. Escalon keeper Fabrico Gallo collected eight saves, while Ripon’s Johnathan Soto finished with five.
“It was a good game but was mostly played between the 18s,” DeBruyn said. “We really didn’t have any good scoring opportunities.”
Ripon ends regular-season action on Oct. 30 at Hughson DeBruyn would like to snap the losing skid heading into the postseason and hopes the team does so in one piece. Veteran defender Emmanuel Sanchez missed Thursday’s match with an ankle injury, and the Indians’ top three points contributors — Thomas Sidtikun (quad contusion), Noah Lehmann (knee) and Fedarico Entrada (back) — aren’t 100 percent.