RIPON — Ripon Christian toppled a familiar foe in its first-round match of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs on Thursday.
In a rematch of last year’s Division VII finals, the No. 3-seeded Knights squeaked out a 2-1 win over Forest Lake Christian of Auburn. Ripon Christian garnered a second straight section title last year with a 1-0 victory over the Falcons.
Moving up in a division with stronger and unknown opponents, Ripon Christian coach Kevin Tameling was glad to start out against a squad his team had already seen.
“I knew they graduated only a few girls, so they had a similar team coming back,” Tameling said. “We watched our section title game from last year to see how they played and how they moved, and it helped out quite a bit.”
It didn’t take long for Forest Lake Christian (10-6-1) to get acquainted with Ripon Christian’s new stadium setting. Kindra Goodman scored in the fourth minute on a free kick, and the Falcons’ one-goal lead stood until halftime.
Ripon Christian (17-6-1) was the aggressor for the remainder of the contest.
“We had about six quality chances, and one hit off the post,” Tameling said. “We just relentlessly attacked the goal but could not find the back of the net.”
Jessica Van Vliet got Ripon Christian on board 2 minutes into the second half after a corner kick. In the 60th, Sam Carvalho dished a through ball to Abby Buitrago for an easy one-on-one goal.
Goalie Bailey Silveira collected three saves but was otherwise rarely challenged. Defender Kelly Engel had much to do with that, as she locked down Forest Lake Christian’s top scorer, Autumn Green.
“Kelly kept her away from the goal and did a great job of playing a physical game,” Tameling said. “She pretty much took away their best player.”
It only gets tougher for the Knights, who travel to Jackson next Wednesday to face Argonaut (13-8) of the Mother Lode League. Argonaut beat No. 7 Mariposa, 2-0.
“We don’t know anything about them, but they’re a third-place team in their league and a No. 2 seed for the playoffs,” Tameling said. “That just shows that they play in a real tough league.”