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Ripon wins first playoff game at Stouffer Field
RHS SOCCER3 11-8-13
Ripons Victor de la O races for the ball during Thursdays 3-0 win over Bret Harte during the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V tournament Thursday at Stouffer Field. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

RIPON – Ripon took nearly 30 minutes to get on the scoreboard during Thursday’s opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V tournament.

Once the Indians’ senior Matt Uecker broke the ice in the 28th minute off a cross from senior captain David Alvarez, Ripon never looked back on its way to recording the school’s first-ever home playoff victory at Stouffer Field.

“We keep making history,” said Alvarez who finished with a score and two assists during the Indians’ 3-0 victory over Bret Harte. “I know we’re capable of going all the way.”

Ripon (17-5-3) is now two wins away from doing so and will play again Wednesday on the road against No. 2 seeded Galt in the semifinal.

The Indians, who outshot Bret Harte (6-7-2 Mother Lode League, 8-14-3) 22-5, broke out in a big way in the second half.

In the 48th minute, Alvarez tallied his second assist  after finding Flavio Valadao to make it 2-0. Valadao’s goal was headed in beautifully, which was followed by Alvarez’s only goal of the game just three minutes later.

Alvarez, Valadao and Brock Herrin played solid at the top and managed to help Ripon advance despite missing its top scorer in freshman Thomas Sidtikum.

 “Thomas was out with a red card,” Ripon head coach Jamie DeBruyn explained. “He was our leading goal scorer, so you lose him you lose some action up front.

“I thought we were tight in the first half. I don’t know if it was nerves or because it was playoff time, but once we got out passing down we scored pretty quickly in the second half.”

This was the outright TVL champion’s first playoff win since 2007 when they beat Linden in a shootout to advance to the semi-final round ultimately losing to Patterson. Last year was the Indians’ first post-season appearance in five years and they were eliminated by the eventual section champion West Campus of Sacramento.

This year, Galt (16-4-3) is the only thing standing in between the Indians and their first-ever section finals appearance.

Galt defeated Highlands 8-1 in its first round victory Thursday.

“We go to Galt and they will be a handful,” DeBruyn said. “They were the (Division IV) finalist last year and they have a lot of their guys back.

“We’re a different team from the beginning. We lost a couple of players to grades, but now one or two goals can win a game for you, so hopefully we can poke a couple in and play some defense.”

In other Division V action, No. 8 seeded Delhi of the Southern League upset top-seeded Linden 2-1 to advance to the semis.

Delhi will face TVL rival Riverbank, who defeated Ventura Academy 3-1 in penalty kicks. The winners of Ripon/Galt will play the winner of Delhi/Riverbank in the Division V finals Nov. 16.