It turns out there will be some drama in the Trans-Valley League after all.
Ripon established itself as the runaway favorite to seize the league championship, but Thursday’s 1-1 tie at Modesto Christian leaves some doubt. It also heightens the stakes for its next match in two weeks: a showdown of 3-0-1 teams at Hughson.
“We haven’t played well in Hughson in the past,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said. “If we can get that win that sets us up nicely for the second half of league because we get Hilmar, Modesto Christian and Hughson all at home.”
DeBruyn said the Indians (10-1-1 overall) played well enough to win Thursday but failed to capitalize on golden scoring opportunities. Juliet Hardy converted a penalty kick in the first half to give Modesto Christian (1-0-3 TVL, 4-2-5 overall) an early lead. Starting keeper Amanda Evans was moved to the front line early in the second half and she provided the equalizer in the 57th minute. Freshman Cindy Alvarez and Evans each had multiple chances to push Ripon ahead.
“We’ve been on spring break all week and I could just tell getting on the bus that the girls weren’t all there,” DeBruyn said. “It took us a while to get going but once we did were dominating possession.
“Hopefully this is one of those things we needed, a little scoare to refocus the girls a little bit. I’m glad we at least got a point out of it.”
Ripon Christian 3,
Three different players scored, while keeper Bryanna Heida (four saves) and the first-place Knights (7-0 SL, 10-6 overall) kept the sheet clean for a seventh straight match.
Alex Erdelatz set up Cynthia Van Vliet for the game’s first goal in the 15th minute. Senior defender Ellen Blankers doubled the lead early in the second half, using the wind to her advantage on a 40-yard bomb that touched the net. Scoring ace Abby Buitrago then buried Gustine (3-5, 4-7) for good with her 23rd goal of the season.
“We had had trouble finding another scoring option besides Abby,” Ripon Christian coach Kevin Tameling said. “Cynthia stepped up today and provided that offensive lift the team needed.