RIPON – Ripon Christian standout Travis Vander Molen raced up the field after scoring the game’s second goal, repeatedly tapping his head with his index while celebrating toward the home crowd.
The Knights’ do-it-all sophomore made it a 2-0 ball game against visiting Cristo Rey Sacramento with an impressive header assisted by junior Kyle Colyn, who launched the ball from the 30-yard sideline with precision.
Vander Molen and his older cousin Danny (hat trick) registered all four scores during Ripon Christian’s 4-1 win during the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII tournament.
“The Vander Molens make good connections,” Ripon Christian head coach Keith Terpsma said. “They’ve grown up together and have played together for a long time. They just have a natural feel for where the other is going to be. It’s definitely to our advantage having them on the same team.”
Travis assisted Danny’s third goal – his second of the afternoon in the 70th minute, which made it 4-0 and was the first score of the second half.
Ripon Christian (14-6-3) will now face the winner of Faith Christian/Trinity Prep next Wednesday in the semifinals for a trip to the section title game on Nov. 16. The location will depend on the winner.
“We started off good today and I thought we put them away pretty quick,” said Danny Vander Molen, who also scored RC’s first and third goals. “We slowed down in the middle, and we can’t do that as much. We need to play balanced throughout the whole game. We’re on a roll right now. We haven’t lost in a while.”
The Knights are 7-0-1 in their last eight games after easing its way past Cristo Rey (8-8-1), who went down 1-0 not even 10 minutes into the contest.
Ripon Christian junior Andrew Manes assisted Danny Vander Molen’s first goal in the ninth minute. Vander Molen settled with the ball after receiving the pass and fired it past Cristo Rey’s Miguel Gutierrez (seven saves).
Five minutes later, Travis Vander Molen made it 2-0 with his head shot.
In the 23rd minute, Travis found Danny for the first time, and Danny got loose on a fast break and banged it by Gutierrez to make it 3-0.
“Our game plan was to come out strong and hard, and getting that goal in the first 10 minutes was the statement we wanted to make,” Terpsma said. “We just fed off that. Once we figured out the other team, which we didn’t know much about, we were able to get the ball into the corners, which was where they were a little weak.
“Congratulations to Cristo Rey for coming out stronger in the second half. They did play well and snuck on in there at the end.”
The Saints of the Central Valley California League avoided the shutout and received its only goal of the game from Fernando Ramirez. Ramirez scored in the 76th minute on a free kick that got past the Knights’ wall of defenders and goalie Lukas Vermeulen (seven saves).