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Ripon gets even with tourney host RC; Lathrop 2nd
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It was a long and hot day for the three area squads that competed in the Ripon Christian Tournament Saturday.

With the league season fast approaching, it was also a productive day.

Ripon High defeated tournament host RC 3-0 in the consolation championship, avenging an earlier non-league loss to its rival.

Lathrop High, meanwhile, narrowly settled for the second-place prize, losing to Forest Lake Christian 4-1 in penalties after battling to a 2-2 draw in regulation and playing two 5-minute overtime periods.

“The boys played well and had a good showing throughout the tournament,” said first-year Lathrop head coach Rudy Almeida. “In the end, I hate for it to come to (a shootout), but I thought we played well. We outshot them, we just couldn’t hit the net.”

In the semifinals, Lathrop (5-4-1) squared off with Valley Oak League foe Kimball and won 3-2 in a back-and-forth struggle. The Spartans opened the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Waterford.

Junior striker Gilberto Duran led the way with three goals on the day. George Cardenas, Ramiro Ceja, Andres Garcia, Vicente Lopez and Ricardo Morales added one each.

The Spartans kick off the Valley Oak League season Monday at East Union.

For Ripon, it was its last chance before delving into the Trans Valley League schedule to right many wrongs.

The day started with good news, as all-TVL defender Cesar Nuno made his 2011 debut after missing most of the non-league schedule because of injury.

“I could really sense the difference with us having Cesar back there today,” said Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn, whose team came into the Ripon Christian Tournament with an 0-8 record while giving up 40 goals vs. just nine scored.

The losing streak extended to nine with a 3-2 loss to eventual champ Forest Lake Christian in the first round.

The Indians (2-9) took a big step forward after that, first by shutting out Central Catholic 1-0. That was another revenge game for them; CC defeated Ripon 3-1 to open the season.

DeBruyn got a quick glimpse of the future in the 8th minute, when the freshman Emmanuel Sanchez finished off a scoring sequence aided by Brandon Roma, also a freshman.

Goalkeeper Henk Gaalswyk preserved a 1-0 lead in the Ripon Christian game by blocking a penalty kick  — the seventh PK given up by the Indians this season.

By keeping the sheets clean against RC in the consolation final, there is finally some momentum that the Indians can build on. They begin TVL play Tuesday at Hilmar.

Sam Bennet led the attack with two goals and an assist, while Andre DeDonatis contributed one of each. Matt Uecker and Shae Biggs added one goal apiece.

“The big thing for us in this tournament was to secure things defensively, and it was a nice boost for our morale to get those shutouts,” DeBruyn said. “We needed that, because we’ve been putting up some big numbers on defense.

“I liked what we did on offense, too. We were consistently getting good opportunities, and that was what I wanted to see today.”

The Knights of Ripon Christian have dropped three of their last four matches after starting out the season 3-0, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are struggling.

Coach Keith Terpsma intentionally matched his team up with Kimball — the largest school represented in the tournament with an enrollment of nearly 2,000 vs. Ripon Christian’s 228.

The Knights dropped a 3-0 decision to Kimball before dispatching Southern League rival Waterford 4-3 on PKs (2-2 regulation). RC scored its goals on set plays, first with Christian Manes setting up freshman Danny Vander Molen, then with Coleton Hilarides touching it to Manes on an indirect kick.

“We got a lot out of this tournament,” Terpsma said. “Kimball has some speed, skill and discipline that we couldn’t match. Kimball showed us where we stand, but the Waterford game showed us what could possibly happen for us down the road. Overall, it was good to see the guys hang tough the entire day.”

Ripon Christian heads to Mariposa Tuesday to open the SL season.