HUGHSON — Destiny was in the hands of the Ripon Indians, but not for long.
After putting themselves in the driver’s seat to contend for the program’s first-ever Trans Valley League championship, they took a big step backwards Monday with a 2-0 loss to Hughson.
Christian Sanchez scored both of the Huskies’ goals in the 32nd and 65th minutes. His second score came off a penalty kick.
“It was a classic (letdown) coming of a great week,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “It was a frustrating day.”
Ripon (8-3, 19-4 overall) put itself in contention with big 2-1 victories over league-leading Riverbank and perennial contender Escalon last week. Escalon was 8-0-1 against Ripon in their previous nine matches.
The Indians had a chance Monday to stay tied with Riverbank for the lead. Hughson (7-4, 10-7) upset Riverbank last Thursday 2-1 and are now riding a five-game winning streak while tied for third place with Escalon.
DeBruyn was confident despite the 1-0 halftime deficit. In both victories last week, Ripon conceded the game’s first goal before coming back.
“I had confidence in the guys to buckle down, collect themselves and do what they do best. It just didn’t happen today,” DeBruyn said. “Hughson was the more aggressive team. I don’t know if it was just us thinking ahead after putting ourselves in position to win the outright league title.
“The ball was on our field going into today, it was just about what we were going to do with it. We showed up not ready for the game, and it might hurt us in the long run. Hopefully we can rebound.”
Escalon 5, Ripon Christian 0
In Ripon, Angel Rodriguez scored twice to lead Escalon (7-4, 12-9). Lino Algandar, Jordan Hall and Eric Hernandez each contributed a goal.
Ben De Ruiter recorded eight saves for the Knights (2-9, 8-13-1).
Weston Ranch 1, Sonora 1
In Sonora, the host Wildcats (2-8-2) benefitted from extra injury time to escape with a tie and remain a three points behind seventh-place Weston Ranch in the standings. Weston Ranch (3-7-2) beat Sonora last time, 2-1.
Brian Baldeon put the Cougars up by a goal in the first half. Weston Ranch was forced to play a man down because of a red card over the final 20 minutes of regulation. Cougar coach Carlos Gaspar said that an additional 20 minutes of stoppage time was added.
“We just want to play the game,” he said. “All I ask for is a fair game, and I’ve never seen a game that had 20 minutes of stoppage time. But I give a lot of credit to my kids, because they played their hearts out.”