With the final touches to the Sac-Joaquin Section soccer postseason format being situated, Ripon High had to take care of the Hilmar Yellowjackets on the road Wednesday. They did just that, blasting Hilmar 4-0 to secure the No. 2 seed in the Trans Valley League Wednesday.
Ripon and Hilmar both found themselves battling for the league’s No. 2 spot after Riverbank High secured the league’s top spot with an undefeated run through league competition. The Indians (6-4, 10-9 overall) handled Hilmar 5-1 in the first meeting and followed that up with the shutout.
“We wanted to finish the season on a winning note and to get a 4-0 win against Hilmar who was right there fighting for that second spot,” Ripon head coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “That was a good quality win and hopefully it will send us into the game next Thursday with a little momentum.”
The playoff format has been adjusted from a season ago, taking on the format from the football qualifiers based on school enrollment. Ripon finds itself in a unique position, fitting respectably in either the Division-IV of Division-V bracket with its 921 enrollment. Both Division-IV and V will be 8-team brackets.
“You throw records aside,” DeBruyn said of the postseason. “Most likely we’re going to run into some teams that we’ve lost to this year and I’ve seen it happen before. You put those records aside and it’s anybody’s game.
“If you show up and play and play that way that you can play, we can beat anybody in our section.”
Jack Brierly was unstoppable for the Indians in the clinching win, finishing the regular season with a hat-trick, netting three goals for the Indians. Teammate Brock Herrin also chipped in with a goal.
Freshman keeper Johnathan Soto turned away five shots in the shutout.
Final tournament fields will be announced Friday, with the tournament action kicking off Nov. 1.