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Indians edge Oakdale in pivotal VOL match
RHS POLO2-9-27-12
Ripon Highs Cole Gonzalez battles his way through the Oakdale defense for the last of his three goals Wednesday in Ripons 12-10 VOL win over Oakdale. B - photo by HIME ROMERO

RIPON – The Oakdale boys water polo team lost a great deal from its undefeated Valley Oak League squad from a year ago, but Ripon High’s 12-10 win over the Mustangs Wednesday is still impressive for an up-and-coming Ripon program.

“Yes, I would consider this a big win, absolutely,” Ripon head coach Eric Zador said when asked after the win. “They went undefeated last year and they did lose quite a few boys from last year, but for us this is a pretty big win.”

Ripon (2-0) established control of the match from the onset, building an 8-4 lead by halftime. Scoring has not proven to be a challenge for the Indians, yet the team’s success will stem from the effort they give on the defensive end.

That is exactly what dictated Ripon’s success against Oakdale, putting forth a diligent effort on the defensive end of the pool to open up and create opportunities for the Indians to attack offensively.

“For the first time, things did start clicking right away,” Zador said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit with first quarters and they pulled it together today. We had a really good first half; we fell asleep in the third quarter, but cleaned it up again in the fourth.”

Both Cole Gonzalez and Nathaniel Gagnon helped Ripon with three goals apiece, while Caleb Rogers led the Indians with four goals. Teammates Dalton Trotter and Zach Scutter both notched one score.

Ripon opened VOL play with a 9-7 win over Sonora and followed that win with this showing. Ripon teams up with Kimball, Sonora and Oakdale to form the league. The top two teams in the league will likely land the available playoff spots after the completion of the six-game schedule.


Oakdale 14, Ripon 3

It was all Oakdale Wednesday as the Mustangs handled the Indians with relative ease in the home match.

Emma Lewis and Hannah Sweet did all the scoring for Ripon, with Sweet connecting on a pair of tosses.

“Our main focus going into every game is to concentrate on our defense,” Ripon head coach Kara Andrews said. “It’s something that both Eric (Zador) and I believe and that’s defense wins games.

“From our tournament and these two league games I can already see a big difference from when we first started.”