RIPON — Ripon Christian High has a little bit more breathing room atop of the Southern League standings.
The Knights (10-0-1 SL, 13-4-2) took matters into their own hands Tuesday by stopping second place Gustine, 5-1.
“We knew we would have to get through (Gustine) in order to win league,” said RC standout Abby Buitrago, who scored a pair of goals and added two assists.
Bethany Silveira also had two goals and Thea Vander Muelen scored the other.
“This was a big victory for us,” said Knights coach Kevin Tameling with three games left on the regular season schedule.
The Reds (8-2-1, 13-5-1) had a special player of their own in sophomore forward Haley Pires.
“We learned the last time what kind of player Gustine had (in Pires),” Tameling said.
That’s after his team went up 2-0 early on thanks goals by Silveira and Vander Muelen.
Pires struck, scoring a goal to cut the deficit in half.
RC wasn’t about to let the Reds build up any momentum from there.
Buitrago got a step on the defense and scored unassisted on the second chance shot just before the break.
Ahead 3-1, the Cal State East Bay-bound Buitrago set up Silveira’s second goal with a nicely placed corner kick in the 67th minute.
For added measure, she circled around the defense on the inbound play, burying the final goal from close range.
RC also made some second-half adjustments. Freshman defender Rylie Nunes was able to blanket Pires.
“We made our midfielders and forwards keep the pressure (on defense) up front,” Tameling added.
Ripon Christian 0
RIPON — The Knights (1-10 SL, 2-17 overall) battled valiantly and mounted dangerous attacks throughout the opening half but could not break the ice.
Gustine (4-4-1, 8-10-2) found the net in the 46th minute to open scoring and distanced itself further in the 67th and 73rd. Ripon Christian goalie Josh Tatton tallied 12 saves.
East Union 6, Kimball 1
The Lancers can capture the Valley Oak League title with a tie in their next game.
Jasmine Mejia and Jackie Galvan helped them get to this point by scoring two goals apiece. Taylor Campbell and Melanie Gonzales each scored one.