Orestimba scored the first and final goals, but Ripon Christian did more than enough damage in between to leave Newman with a 5-2 victory and at least a share of the Southern League championship.
It’s the first conference crown captured by the Knights (10-1-1 SL, 17-4-1 overall) since the 1996 team did so in the Trans-Valley League. They cap regular-season play at Denair next Tuesday and against visiting Gustine on Oct. 30. Gustine entered Thursday in second place and is one of five teams in contention for the SL’s final two Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths.
“To claim the Southern League title outright all we need in our last two games is a point (tie),” Ripon Christian coach Keith Terpsma said. “ The guys won’t settle for a tie, they want to win out, And they can do it”
Orestimba (5-5-2, 10-9-2) got Ripon Christian’s attention early, taking a one-goal lead in the 17th minute after Knights goalie Lukas Vermeulen thwarted several previous attempts to keep it scoreless.
The Knights didn’t find the net until the 39th minute. Defender Jesse DeRousse collected the ball shortly after a corner kick and blasted a long-range strike over the Orestimba keeper to tie it.
“Thankfully, Jesse hit that ball just right,” Terpsma said. “He essentially gave us the reset button we needed. We made our halftime adjustments and they paid off.”
Travis Vander Molen accounted for two of Ripon Christian’s four second-half goals, scoring in the 50th and 58th minutes off assists from cousin Danny Vander Molen and Hawk Magnussen. Logan Van Vuren earlier pushed the Knights ahead for good in the 43rd minute. Magnussen, set up by Josh Donoho’s breakaway run down the right flank, also netted a goal for good measure in the 65th minute before Orestimba answered with a late score.
“I knew the game had turned early in that second half and there was no turning back,” Terpsma said.