RIPON — It looked as if Ripon High was going to post another one-sided victory at rival Ripon Christian Monday after Bryant Macias blasted in the game’s first goal from the top of the penalty box in the 9th minute.
But after 80 minutes of play, that 1-0 lead stood as the final score.
The Knights (2-11 Trans Valley League, 8-15-1) nearly put a damper on Ripon’s conference title hopes by playing stiff defense in front of goalkeeper Jacob Meeuwse (13 saves), who filled in for usual starter Ben De Ruiter (flu).
Ripon Christian had a chance to tie it at the end when Scott Faure found a crack in the Indians’ defense, but his attempt ricocheted off a post and goalie Tim Combley (three saves) was able to reel it in.
“I thought we controlled the majority of the game,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “We passed the ball very well, but anytime we got into a threatening position something would happen — a nice defensive stop, a good goalie save, a poor shot on goal or we were just unable to trap a pass.
“RC would clear it, we’d win the ball at midfield and it would happen all over again. We did some things well, we just didn’t finish well.”
Both DeBruyn and Ripon Christian coach Keith Terpsma gave credit to the Knights’ back line of Steve Vander Molen, Greg Mulder, Cody Kepler and Matt Van Groningen.
“We had a rough time getting around their sweeper, Steve Vander Molen, today,” DeBruyn said.
Ripon (10-3, 21-4) has little time to breathe a sigh of relief with defending champion Riverbank visiting Mistlin Park Wednesday. Riverbank, which tied third-place Escalon 1-1 Monday, leads Ripon by a point in the standings.
Ripon will then end the season Nov. 2 against arch-nemesis Escalon.
“It’s going to be one season wrapped up into one game,” said DeBruyn, who is attempting to be the first coach to bring home Ripon’s first-ever boys soccer title. “Wednesday’s game is what we’ve been shooting for all year, and hopefully we can solidify (the championship) with the last game.”
Sierra 4, Sonora 2
In Sonora, the Timberwolves (9-2-3, 14-7-3) had trouble at the start before breaking away in the second half.
Ricky Pacheco scored twice, including the game-winner early in the second half. Braian Gomez and Edwin Perez netted Sierra’s other goals. Sonora took the game’s first lead, and it was tied at 2 at halftime.
“We came out of halftime and just took care of business,” Sierra coach Jose Montes said.
Sierra can clinch a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth with a win against visiting Lathrop Thursday.