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Girls soccer: Scholten’s long- distance goals propel Indians past Manteca
Bulletin girls soccer 2018-19
Manteca midfielder Jordyn Silva, left, and Ripon’s Deanna Sandoval get physical as they battle for possession. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

RIPON — There are certainly more important matches ahead for Ripon High’s girls soccer team, but don’t tell Ariana Scholten that the Indians’ non-league tilt with visiting Manteca was meaningless.
The strong-legged sophomore blasted a pair of long-range goals to help Ripon prevail 3-1 in its first contest in 10 days. The Indians (6-3) hadn’t beaten Manteca since doing so back-to-back in 2009-10, and last year the Valley Oak League powerhouse got the better of them, 5-1.
“It was such a good feeling because I know some girls on this team, and last year they got to rub it in my face that they beat me,” Scholten said. “Coming out and beating them was the best feeling ever. We worked really hard for the win.”
Scholten’s first strike came in the 37th minute, and at a time when Manteca (4-4-3) controlled much of the action. Scholten took a crack from about 30 yards out, and the ball slipped between the hands of Buffaloes goalie Aimee Meier (four saves). The Indians led 1-0 at halftime.
She booted another go-ahead goal in the 63rd minute, hitting the upper-right corner from 40-plus yards away in the 63rd minute. Both goals were assisted by Devaney Dougherty, and Scholten now has a team-high 13 for the season.
“I have a lot of confidence with those shots,” Scholten said. “I go out and train by myself and those are the shots I practice. It feels good when the training pays off and shows in the game.”
The insurance goal came five minutes later. Scholten’s direct kick from the top of the penalty box squirted through the wall, and freshman Hailey Petersen benefitted from the deflection as she had an uncontested shot near the 6-yard line.
Ripon outshot the Buffaloes, 15-10 (9-5 on goal). Manteca had several good chances but was at its best to start the second half. Junior standout Kaley Miller had a breakaway in the 49th minute but had her shot deflected away by a diving Ashley Pugh (four saves).
Miller converted on her next opportunity set up beautifully by freshman Caitlynn Wong’s through ball.
“We definitely had some scoring opportunities, especially early on in the first half,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We still had some things we wanted to work on and I was really happy in the first 15 minutes of the second half with how we were playing.
“We’ve been struggling putting combinations together and controlling things in the midfield, so we made a couple of adjustments at halftime. Those first 15 minutes of the second half was the best we’ve looked this season, but to give up the goal was tough because we had been playing so well.”
Manteca, a team with no seniors and only four juniors, has relied on Miller to provide some offensive punch of late. The Buffs have been limited to one goal in each of their last four outings, all scored by the junior striker. Coenenberg hopes the recent addition of East Union transfer Kaylee Gines, who played the final five minutes on Friday, gives them a needed boost on the attacking third.
Miller amassed 34 goals and 13 assists for Manteca last season but started the 2018-19 campaign sidelined by a groin injury. Although she broke loose for a few good scoring chances Friday, Ripon’s defense — led by Kierra Chavez ad Kailey Tijero — did well to limit them, oftentimes in one-on-one situations against the fast forward.
“Our defense, I have to give all the credit to them,” Ripon coach Nichole Meyer said. “They have such a good camaraderie in the backfield and we put a lot of the responsibility of communication on them so we don’t have to do as much coaching. Kierra and Kailey had a fantastic game covering for each other and keeping the pressure high.”
This annual showdown typically opens the season for both sides, but this was postponed by the poor air quality from the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County. The rescheduled date landed on a good spot for the Indians, who would have otherwise gone 15 days between games.
And the next one is a biggie — a Trans-Valley League dogfight with Hilmar on the road next Thursday. Meanwhile, Manteca visits rival and reigning VOL champion Sierra on Wednesday.
“Our next game is Hilmar, so we needed a good challenge before going into our TVL rivalry game,” Meyer said. “This was huge for our confidence.”