Southern League champion Ripon Christian capped regular-season action Thursday with a 2-1 win over visiting Gustine. The victory is the seventh straight for the Knights (12-1-1 SL, 19-4-1 overall).
Travis Vander Molen scored the game-winner on a penalty kick in the 58th minute.
Gustine (7-4-3, 10-9-3) ended up securing the SL’s third and last available Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth despite the loss. Ripon Christian’s latest blemish in league was a scoreless tie at Gustine on Oct. 7.
“Our guys knew we had never beaten Gustine,” Ripon Christian coach Keith Terpsma said, adding that Gustine had to forfeit a win against his Knights last year. “They really wanted to take it to them today.”
The Redskins landed the first blow in the 14th minute, but Ripon Christian goalie Lukas Vermuelen (three saves) and its back line of Kyle Colyn, Jesse DeRousse and Coleton Hilaredes tightened up from that point forward. Hilarides returned to the lineup after missing the last three matches with a knee injury.
Andrew Manes and Danny Vander Molen — two of RC’s 10 seniors honored Thursday — hooked up for the equalizer in the 35th minute. Vander Molen sent a low cross from the left corner to Manes, who netted the goal on the first touch.
Ripon Christian is likely to get a top-two seed for the SJS playoffs, which begins Nov. 6.
Ripon 3, Hughson 0
In Hughson, sophomore Patrick Maragos struck for two goals, while Noah Lehmann scored one and assisted another for the TVL’s runner-up.
Senior Brent White played the entire match at goal in place of usual starter Johnathan Soto and recorded three saves in the shutout. Ripon ends the regular season with a 6-2 TVL record and is 12-8-1 overall.