Jason Silva and Bryce Perkins are encouraged with what they’ve seen out of their young teams of late.
Their squads tangled on Wednesday at Dino Cunial Field, with Silva and East Union prevailing 3-0 over visiting Ripon.
Four underclassmen and a four-year standout played roles in the scoring. Chloe Silva assisted goals to fellow freshman Tallon Cervantez and sophomore Jayda Ramirez in the 10th and 78th minutes. Senior midfielder Taylor McMahon struck in the 20th minute, taking advantage of a deflection following a long throw-in from freshman Olivia Morgan.
The Lancers (5-2, 6-2 overall) have won five straight matches after opening the pandemic-shortened Valley Oak League schedule with back-to-back losses against cross-town rivals Manteca and Sierra, respectively the reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division III and league champions.
“Everything has come together last couple of games have been scrappy and we’ve come up with some really good wins against Oakdale on Monday and Ripon tonight,” Silva said. “Those are a couple of tough opponents in physical games, and we were able to come up with two shutouts this week. I’m super happy with how we’re playing.”
Veteran goalkeeper Kylie Mendez was hardly tested between the posts, and East Union was able to control possession and work out of the back for much of the contest.
San Diego State-bound Ariana Scholten had the Indians’ best looks but all from distance, including two in dangerous-looking strikes that just missed the crossbar late in the first half.
Cervantez nearly scored a second time two minutes after halftime when Jenna Campbell led her into the penalty box on a well-executed give-and-go, but the shot sailed over the goal. Ripon’s defense tightened up from there, until Ramirez slotted a shot from a narrow angle into the upper-left 90.
“I liked our second half,” Perkins said. “We fell asleep for the first few minutes and the game got away for a moment, but they seemed to settle down in the second half.”
Perkins gave a nod to fourth-year center back Kailey Tijero, who protected goalie Jaden Vivit with a few timely blocks. She provided the highlight of the day for Ripon in the 64th minute with a courageous sliding tackle inside the box that knocked the ball away from McMahon on a breakaway.
“She has been one of the best defenders we’ve ever had,” Perkins said. “She’s so versatile and has virtually played every minute of every game all four years.”
Tijero was named All-Trans-Valley League Defender of the Year last season when the Indians reached the SJS Division IV final. Adhering to state and county recommendations amid the pandemic, Ripon along with rivals Escalon and Ripon Christian are competing against the larger schools of the VOL this spring. The Indians are doing so without league MVP Devaney Dougherty, who has signed with Stanislaus State and opted not to play her final season for the school.
“We’ve got a few breezier games ahead and these girls could use it,” Perkins said. “It’s not like we were dropping games to (bad teams), they’re all really good.
“We’re going to be back on the field in just five months, so this little run is some great experience for them. Really looking forward to next year.”
East Union 2, Ripon 1
Chelsea Keathley scored one goal and assisted Ashley Vasquez’s for East Union. Kaylee Hutzler was the standout defensively.
Vanessa Ponce scored for Ripon.