Barring upsets, the Trans-Valley League boys soccer championship will be decided on Oct. 23 at Ripon High’s Stouffer Field.
The Indians visited Riverbank on Monday and ended the Bruins’ league winning streak with a 2-2 tie. Riverbank (3-0-1, 5-5-2 overall) had gone 14 straight TVL contests without losing or tying, as its last blemish came on Oct. 18, 2011 with a 1-0 defeat to Hilmar. The Bruins are two-time defending champions and have claimed four out of the last five titles.
“We’ll take it,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said, though he wasn’t entirely satisfied. He added that miscommunication and the inability to clear the ball out of the box during key situations led to Riverbank’s “gift” goals.
Riverbank struck first in the 13th minute when Ripon players took turns attempting to clear the ball away from the goal, only to hit fellow teammates and Bruins attackers. Eduardo Estrada finally capped the sequence with a wide-open goal.
David Alvarez boosted Ripon’s spirits with a goal in the opening minute of the second half. He deflected a Riverbank attempt to clear the ball and chased it down before blowing it by the keeper.
“That was exactly what we needed,” DeBruyn said.
Six minutes later, defender Drew DeKruyf sent a long ball up to an unmarked Matt Uecker, who skillfully turned and shot to push Ripon ahead, 2-1.
The Indians’ lead was upheld until the 61st minute. That was when two defenders converged on the ball but hesitated just enough for the opportunistic Oscar Jimenez to steal the ball and bury it behind Ripon keeper Jonathan Soto (5 saves).
“The frustrating part is that we played very well and we should have walked out of there with a win,” DeBruyn said. “But in the grand scheme of things we’ll take the point and see them again at home.”
Delhi 2, Ripon Christian 1
The host Knights (2-2, 7-5-2) struck first, but it was Delhi (4-1, 6-4-2) that came up with the big win to maintain its spot atop the SL standings.
Ripon Christian scored off two headers in the 15th minute. Danny Vander Molen delivered a long throw-in, and Jake Van Vuren headed the ball up for Travis Vander Molen, who buried his head shot.
Delhi answered in the 26th and 58th minutes.
“We lost today, but the guys show promise as they near the halfway point in league,” Ripon Christian coach Keith Terpsma said. “And if I know anything about RC soccer, we’ll finish stronger than we started.”