Ripon Christian overshadowed a disastrous start with a brilliant finish to knock off upset-minded Waterford 3-2 on Thursday.
The Knights (11-0-1, 14-4-2) maintained their slim lead over Mariposa for the top spot in the Southern League thanks to Rachel Oosterman’s second go-ahead goal of the match. Her breakaway score in the 73rd minute was set up by a pass from Elle Van Wyngarden.
“Our play today was up and down,” Ripon Christian coach Kevin Tameling said. “Despite our moments of poor play, I am proud fo the team for their resolve to battle back twice in this game.”
The third-place Wildcats (7-4-1, 7-6-1) got Ripon Christian’s attention early, striking in the opening minute shortly after the kickoff. It wasn’t until the final three minutes of the half that the Knights would answer.
Van Wyngarden took a pass from Janine Prins and scooted past the Waterford defense for the equalizer. Moments later, Oosterman converted her first goal. Rylie Nunes delivered the assist, and the go-ahead shot ricocheted off the back post but still settled into the net.
Ripon Christian carried the momentum into the second half but had nothing to show for its control of the game. Waterford shocked the Knights again, scoring off a cross in the 60th minute.
Tameling said he was not surprised that his team was locked in a battle.
“The last time we played them we won 4-0, but in that game we scored three goals in 10 minutes,” Tameling said. “It was a much closer game than the final result showed.”
He expects more challenges ahead as the regular-season schedule wraps up next week with home games against Gustine and Orestimba, two teams nipping at Waterford’s heels for the third and final Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth.
Ripon 7, Livingston 1
LIVINGSTON — The Indians (8-1, 16-4-1 overall) are back on track after their wake-up call at Hilmar last week.
They’ve outscored two opponents 19-1 since the 2-0 loss and are still on the path to a second-straight outright championship in the Trans-Valley League. The two wins Thursday helped them earn at least a share.
Devaney Dougherty starred in the drubbing over third-place Livingston (5-4, 7-8-1), tallying four goals and two assists.
Maddie Winter accounted for two goals, and Ariana Daniels scored one and assisted another. In addition, all four of the Indians’ starting defenders — Ellie Everhart, Kailey Tijero, Bianca Toledo and Deanna Sandoval — each contributed an assist. Goalkeeper Ashley Pugh secured six saves.
Ripon hosts Hughson for the regular-season finale next Tuesday.