KINGSBURG — Marissa Montelongo and the rest of the Kingsburg Vikings gave visiting Ripon all it could handle in the first round of the CIF State Northern California Division IV Regional Championships on Tuesday.
The two-sport star powered the four-time reigning Central Section champions to a 2-0 win, sending the fourth-seeded side to a semifinal showdown with powerhouse Branson.
“Their big gun, she’s the real deal,” Ripon coach Bryce Perkins said of Montelongo, who has signed with Saint Mary’s College to play both soccer and softball. He also described her as “swift,” “complete” and "unstoppable.”
It didn’t take long for Montelongo to leave her mark Tuesday, scoring her 30th goal for the season in the fourth minute on a breakaway set up by a pass from Shelby Reed.
The No. 4 Indians (20-6-1) struggled to get untracked for the rest of the half but was content to go into halftime down by one goal. Helping them stay within reach was Devaney Dougherty, the team’s fastest player who moved from her normal spot at wing forward to the defensive third.
In the second half, Ripon pressed the action but couldn’t break through against the stout defense of Kingsburg (21-7-2), which went to a five-person back line. Montelongo erased any hope for Ripon with the back-breaking goal in the 74th minute.
“We came out blazing in the second half and were banging away on their side of the field, but we couldn’t get any clean shots off,” Perkins said. “They were the more physical team, they were faster to the ball and it was their night.”
Perkins looks forward to building off Ripon’s current run of success, which includes back-to-back Sac-Joaquin Section Division V titles followed by a runner-up finish in the tougher Division IV bracket. The Trans-Valley League champion loses just four seniors but returns 16 juniors and a wealth of underclassmen, many of whom contributed to the junior varsity team’s undefeated run through league.
“We came out with a bunch of accomplishments including a 20-win season,” Perkins said. “They moved us up a notch to Division IV and we showed ourselves. We’ll miss our seniors, but we’ll have plenty of firepower back.”