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Rattos hat trick carries Indians past Knights
Ripon Christian’s Cody Kelper tries to keep the ball away from Ripon’s Tamim Shetab during Trans Valley League action Wednesday afternoon. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
RIPON – Things started out relatively slow on Wednesday when intra-city rivals Ripon and Ripon Christian battled at Mistlin Park in a Trans Valley League matchup.

After twenty minutes ticked away, the game remained scoreless and both the Knights and the Indians were setting up plays that could have easily led to scores – making it appear that Ripon Christian’s one league win might in fact be misleading.

But by the time the clock reached the forty minute mark, Ripon jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a Jared Ratto goal in the 26th minute that was assisted by fellow Captain Matty Gay and an unassisted goal that Gay put in the back of the net in the 38th minute, giving the Indians a solid lead they’d continue to build to a 5-0 final.

“We were passing the ball well out there looking for our shots, and we finally found some late in that first half,” said Ratto – who would chip in two more shots for a hat trick in the second half. “We had some opportunities behind their defense and it felt great to be able to make some things happen today. I personally managed to get the trifecta – a goal, an assist, and a yellow card. You don’t see that very often.”

According to Ripon head coach Jaime DeBruyn the squad did in fact get off to a somewhat slow start but kept moving the ball around the way that they were supposed to – not forcing plays and letting scoring chances occur naturally and finishing when the opportunities present themselves.

It would be in the second half – when Ratto scored two additional unassisted goals and helped set-up Donnie DeDonatis with a shot that would tickle the twine – that put the game out of reach of the Knights and send Ripon (17-3, 6-2) into what could possibly be their toughest stretch of league action to date when they prepare to take on Riverbank, Escalon, and Hughson in consecutive matches.

“Each one of those games are extremely important and are games that we can’t really afford to lose,” DeBruyn said. “At this point in the season we just need to keep getting better and doing what it is that we do regardless of who it is that we’re playing.

“We’re at a crucial stretch, and it’s important that we don’t skip a beat.”