RIPON — The Indians opened the CIF Northern California Regional Girls Soccer Championships in Division V with a 3-0 victory against visiting Summerville on Tuesday.
"It took us a half to adjust," said Ripon High coach Nichole Meyer, referencing the slick playing surface on Stouffer Field from the evening drizzle.
It was the defense that stood out in the battle between Sac-Joaquin Section champions — Ripon (19-3-1) won its second straight in Division V, while Summerville (15-3-3) claimed the Division VI title.
The No. 4-seeded Indians had their signature moment late in the game on a breakaway.
The No. 5 Bears of the Mother Lode League saw their only scoring chance get squashed by Ripon goalie Ashley Pugh, who had the support of her teammates.
"We did a good job dropping back," said sophomore defender Kailey Tijero, who thwarted an earlier breakaway late in the first half by sliding behind the attacker and kicking the ball away.
But this time around, Pugh, who had five saves, came up with the initial stop. Summerville was quick to converge on the play only to see a swarm of Ripon defender counter back.
"Everyone fell down in front of me," recalled Tijero, who was able to kick the ball out of harm's way.
Next up for Ripon is Lowell on Thursday, which is a rematch of last year’s Division IV NorCal final won by the Cardinals from San Francisco. The top team in D-V defeated No. 8 Washington Union, 4-0.
The Indians and Summerville were scoreless for the first half even though the Indians dominated the possession.
Ripon had an 11-0 advantage at shots on goal up to that point.
That all changed in the second half.
Summerville's own goal in the 46th minute gave the Indians a 1-0 lead. Freshman forward Maddy Winter was credited with the assist.
In the 52nd minute, Hailey Peterson slipped a through-pass to Devaney Dougherty, who found a seam at midfield, breaking free and firing a shot at the top of the box for a goal.
The Indians made it 3-0 in the 59th minute when Aubree Pelon blasted a shot from over 30 yards out from straight away. Sydney Holt pushed the pass out to help set up the play.
Summerville had more offensives chances in the second half with six shots on goal.
"Our defense was fantastic," Meyer said. "They did a wonderful job covering for the keeper."