Ripon Christian’s girls soccer team got the result it needed Tuesday, withstanding a late charge from visiting Mariposa for a 2-1 victory that keeps it locked in a two-way share for first place in the Southern Athletic League.
The Knights (6-0-1 SAL, 13-4-2 overall) scored on an own goal in the 30th minute after Addison DeJong’s corner kick was deflected into the net by a Mariposa defender.
The good fortune was the result of RC’s relentless high press, which led to many other scoring opportunities. Katie Van Unen later doubled the lead with her first goal of the season.
“One of our goals was to take away what they wanted to do,” RC coach David Morris said. “When we took away their first option and their second option, it caused them to look for their third option which is harder to do. We felt like we were taking their game away from them, which was the goal of the high press.”
On the second goal, Ripon Christian defender Dayna Koolhaas sent a through ball that bounced past two Mariposa players who misplayed it because of pressure applied by DeJong. Van Unen was behind them to take advantage of a breakaway opportunity in the 53rd minute.
The game changed shortly after that.
In the next minute, it was the Grizzlies (4-2, 4-3-1) charging ahead on a breakaway that was halted by a dangerous tackle in the penalty box. Mariposa was awarded the penalty kick, and Lupin Amstutz put it away in the 55th minute.
For the next 15 minutes, the Knights’ usually-reliable defense was on its heels.
Shelsy Marquez and Amstutz each had counter-attacking opportunities after stealing the ball away from defenders. They also had good looks on the same sequence in the 67th minute when Marquez had a shot on goal deflected away by Ripon Christian goalkeeper Tara Heida, and Amstutz’s follow-up attempt was cleared off the line by Koolhaas.
“We got to the point where we were backed into our corner and up against the ropes absorbing a lot of blows,” Morris said. “They just managed to stay tough. One of our starting defenders lost a contact lens and couldn’t see so she had to come out, but I our defense rallied and hung on in the end.”
Ripon Christian’s tough stretch of games is not yet over with co-leading Gustine visiting on Thursday. These two teams tied their previous match, and Gustine also has a 2-1 win over Mariposa.
“We knew coming into this game that the winner would have a good shot at first place, so this is a really big result,” Morris said.
Ripon Christian 8, Mariposa 0
Sophomore forward Grant Sonke was involved in the first four goals of the game.
His corner kick in the 12th minute was eventually put away by older brother Alex Sonke, followed up a deflected header by Isaac Buwalda and scored on a head shot of his own.
Grant Sonke directly assisted the next three, first connecting with Buwalda on another corner-kick cross in the 16th minute and again four minutes later with a nifty heel flick. Sonke then teed up Camdan Indelicato’s 20-yard blast. Jay Hoekstra capped the first-half barrage and was set up by Indelicato.
Hyeon Seung Lee (48th minute), Silas Vander Woude (53rd, Drew Meester assist) and Colten Bryan (54th, Vander Woude) handled the rest of the scoring for Ripon Christian (2-6-1 SAL, 5-12-1 overall).