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Own goal helps Ripon nip Hughson
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Hughson has rarely been a kind host to Ripon’s girls soccer team in recent years.

That changed Tuesday when the two went toe-to-toe in a first-place battle in the Trans-Valley League. The visiting Indians are now alone atop the standings thanks to a 2-1 victory aided by an own goal on Hughson’s end in the 76th minute. It was the result of a nice run set up by Cindy Alvarez, who delivered cross into penalty box from the left sideline. Kaydee Cruz-Sampson was the target of the pass, but a Hughson defender deflected it into her own goal while trying to clear it away from danger.

“I think that if Kaydee was able to control it she’d be able to shove it in,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said.

Either way, he and the Indians (4-0-1 TVL, 11-1-1 overall) were just glad to escape with the victory in hand. Hughson (3-1-1, 6-7-3) is still a threat to take over as champions with still another half of the league schedule remaining with Modesto Christian (2-0-3, 5-2-5) also looming.

“We’re sitting in a good spot,” DeBruyn said. “The nice thing for us is we have MC, Hughson and Hilmar at home the second time through.”

Cruz-Sampson gave Ripon the early lead with a goal in the 18th minute. Sara Souza was in on the assist.

Ripon played against a strong headwind in the second half but has typically fared well in similar conditions in the past. After several near-misses, however, Ripon let one slip through the cracks on its defensive end with 10 minutes remaining.

Play was stopped by the officials as wing defender Sarah Alves was forced to sub out after getting the wind knocked out of her. Seconds later, Hughson sent a high shot into the wind and converted as Ripon goalie Amanda Evans (five saves) lost track of it in the sun.

“We play better going into the wind for some reason,” DeBruyn said. “Kaydee had a breakaway and missed and we had several other opportunities.

 “We needed a crazy last 10 minutes to finally win one at Hughson, which is usually the way it goes when we play over there. But it’s good to be on the winning side this time.”