Ripon Christian visited Delhi on Tuesday and avenged its only Southern League loss with a 1-0 victory that keeps the Knights atop the standings.
Andrew Manes recorded the winning goal with a header in the 56th minute. Danny Vander Molen lofted a pass over the Delhi defense to set it up, and Manes headed it in off the bounce and placed it beyond the outstretched arms of the keeper.
“That was the moment we were waiting for, but we knew we had a long way to go,” Ripon Christian coach Keith Terpsma said.
The rest was up to goalie Lukas Vermeulen (five saves) and the Ripon Christian defense to ward off Delhi’s dangerous attack. The last time these two teams met, the Hawks (6-3 SL, 10-7 overall) erupted for five goals and statement-making 5-3 win.
Ripon Christian (7-1-1, 14-4-1) hasn’t given up more than a goal in any of the seven games since. Delhi, meanwhile, is 2-3 in its last five matches and has lost ground in the championship race after starting out 4-0.
The Knights have five games left in the regular season and next hosts last-place Waterford on Thursday.
Ripon 4, Hughson 0
The Indians (4-0, 10-6-1) celebrated senior night — already — in their final game in the first half of the TVL schedule.
Fedarico Entrada and sophomore Thomas Sidtikun each had a goal and an assist, while seniors Noah Lehmann and Alexis Rodriguez scored a goal apiece. Goalie Johnathan Soto had three saves.
First-place Ripon is playing out the remainder of its schedule on the road, starting with Hilmar on Thursday.
“I knew that if we wanted to make a run for league again we were going to have to go through those first four with a clean slate, and the guys have met that challenge,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “Now the challenge is to go on the road for four more and seeing if we can duplicate that. We have to go to Riverbank and Escalon next week and those are tough environments to play in.”