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SOCCER: Knights split to earn spot in 3rd-place match of own tournament
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RIPON — The Ripon Christian girls soccer team’s run of clean sheets continued Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to get the Knights into the championship round of the 4th annual Ripon Christian Classic Gold Bracket.
They kicked off their expanded event with a 5-0 win over Big Valley Christian and recorded a eighth-straight shutout after battling Oakmont’s junior varsity squad to a scoreless tie. Oakmont wound up winning the penalty kick shootout 3-2 to and will face Los Banos at 1:30 today for the Gold Bracket title.
The third-place match pitting Ripon Christian (5-1-3) and familiar foe Stone Ridge Christian takes place noon. Ripon Christian previously downed Stone Ridge, 4-0.
Madi de Graaf starred for the Knights playing two different positions. She jump started their dominant effort against Big Valley with a goal in the third minute, controlling a corner-kick cross from Thea Vander Meulen. De Graaf scored again in the 12th minute.
Hailey Brown also registered a pair of goals, while Rachel Oosterman had one. Taylor Alger and Janine Prins each contributed an assist, while goalie Nicole Chapman was untested from start to finish.
Chapman, however, did not play in the second game due to injury, forcing de Graaf to take over between the posts. De Graaf performed admirably, finishing with nine saves including a one on a 1-on-1 breakaway that kept it scoreless.
Oakmont’s ticket to the final round was punched after Ripon Christian hit the crossbar on its fifth PK of the shootout. Argonaut and Big Valley play for seventh place at noon, while Millennium and Johansen square off at 1:30 for the consolation championship.
The eight teams in Blue Bracket will play two games apiece today. Winners-bracket semifinal matches are Hilmar-Summerville and Amador-Oakmont at 10:30 a.m. Consolation contests are Orestimba-Ben Holt ant Patterson-Escalon at 9.

East Union 3, Franklin 0
STOCKTON — Both coaches agreed to end the nonleague contest at halftime after a pair of Franklin players left with concussion symptoms. With several players out of town for winter break, the Yellowjackets (0-3-2) were already shorthanded to going in.
“It just did not feel right to continue the game,” East Union coach Carlos Gaspar said. “I’m just hoping the girls are doing well.”
East Union (8-1-1) had things under control for as long the match lasted. Jasmine Mejia scored twice, and Natasha Honore headed one into the net after Gabriella Cruz’s free kick deflected off the crossbar. Hailey Sims contributed an assist.

East Union 5, Franklin 1
At Dino Cunial Field, the Lancers (11-3-2) dominated their only match of the week.
Giovanni Padilla scored in the 14th, 19th and 48th minutes for a hat trick and assisted one of two goals for German Gonzalez. He’s currently the second in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 43 points scored (17 goals, nine assists) on the season.

East Union 2, Franklin 1
Thania Valencia scored both goals for East Union.