The traffic on Highway 99 was the best defense against Ripon High’s attack Monday.
Normally a 35-minute trip by bus, Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said it took about an hour and 15 minutes to reach its destination.
The ride home went much more smoothly, as moods lightened following a 5-1 trouncing of Hughson.
“We didn’t show up until 5 minutes before game time,” DeBruyn said. “We rushed through warm-ups and stretches, and you can tell that our heads weren’t in the right places in the first 10 minutes.”
Hughson (0-2 Trans-Valley League, 3-8-1 overall) capitalized as Ripon (2-0, 9-5) tried shaking out of its daze, landing the first blow with a goal in the fourth minute.
It wasn’t until the 32nd minute that the Indians finally answered with Flavio Valadao’s goal. It was tied 1-1 at halftime.
The final 40-minute stanza belonged to Ripon.
Brock Herrin buried the go-ahead goal in the 47th minute off an assist from Matt Uecker to get Ripon on a roll. Maurico Aguirre finished off a pass from Valadao, who was returning the favor after Aguirre assisted his first-half goal, in the 58th minute.
Roberto Alvarez capped scoring with goals in the 73rd and 77th minutes, the second of which was assisted by Aguirre.
Jonathan Soto racked up five saves in what was otherwise an uneventful match for the keeper.
“They answered the call in the second half,” DeBruyn said. “That was definitely what I wanted to see.”
Ripon has one last tune-up, a home meeting with Modesto Christian on Wednesday, before its anticipated battle with defending TVL champion Riverbank next week.
Gustine 3, Ripon Christian 2
Ripon Christian (2-1, 6-4-3) nearly savaged a draw after going down 2-0 against the conference’s traditional powerhouse.
Gustine netted goals in the 14th and 60th minutes to take a commanding lead, but the Knights did not back down. They rallied in the next five minutes, first scoring on Danny Vander Molen’s head shot off Andrew Manes’ cross. Two minutes later, Max Koetsier connected with Travis Vander Molen, who blasted the tying goal.
Gustine went ahead for good with a penalty kick in the 70th minute. The Redskins were awarded the PK after a Knight was called for a hand ball in the penalty box.