By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Vander Molens last-minute goal lifts RC over Ripon
Ripon Christians Danny Vander Molen raises his right arm after blasting the game-winning goal past Ripon defender Jackson Baier and goalie Johnathan Soto in the final minute. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Ripon had many chances to take the lead in the second half.

All Ripon Christian needed was one.

Danny Vander Molen assisted the host Knights’ first two goals and booted in the game-winner in the final minute to highlight RC’s thrilling 3-2 victory. It’s the second year in a row that Ripon Christian opened a season with a win over neighboring rival.

The Knights have high hopes this season with nearly every player returning, and the addition of a talented group of exchange students from Korea make them a well-rounded club that can’t be overlooked.

Sophomore Paul Cho is one of the Korean newcomers. He scored an early equalizer in the ninth minute with a nifty deflection of Vander Molen’s well-placed cross. Cho returned the favor during the deciding sequence, delivering a perfect through ball that set Vander Molen up for an early 1-on-1 with the keeper.

“They add a lot to the team,” Vander Molen said. “They filled in the spots where we were a little weaker last year. They move the ball around really well and are very quick with their feet.”

Things weren’t looking so well for RC at the start. In the opening minute, standout Arik Anaya found Jack Brierly streaking toward the penalty area for a one-goal lead.

That probably didn’t do Ripon any favors, however.

“We came out with intensity and put them in a hole right away, but then we just dropped it down a level,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “Hats off to RC for fighting back.”

After Cho tied it, Vander Molen recorded his second assist just two minutes later. His corner kick was intended for Cho and was off the mark, but Kyle Van Vuren was there to knock it in.

Ripon capped the early onslaught of goals in the 19th minute when Chasen Martinsen netted the tying score off an assist from Flavio Valadao.

The two teams combined to bury four goals in their first five shot attempts, but for 39 minutes in the second half they had trouble connecting. Ripon Christian started the second half off well, but Ripon was in full control during a 20-minute stretch in which it fired off 10 of its 15 overall shots.

Ripon Christian freshman keeper Lukas Vermeulen had some scary moments but came up with three clutch saves in the second half. The Indians had several point-blank looks from near the six-yard goal box.

Valadao had Ripon’s two best opportunities in the 63rd minute. His initial half-volley shot was deflected away by Vermuelen, and he pushed his open-net follow-up wide of the left post.

“We couldn’t shut down their offense,” RC coach Keith Terpsma said. “Every cross, at least from my angle, I thought was going in. I was biting my nails.”

Cho and Vander Molen put their coach’s mind at ease at the end.

Ripon, now 0-2, looks to bounce back Wednesday but faces a tough Manteca squad on the road. Ripon Christian heads to Modesto Christian Thursday.