Ripon’s girls soccer team is poised for a dynastic run in the Trans-Valley League and Sac-Joaquin Section.
Winners of back-to-back SJS Division V titles, the Indians went undefeated this past winter season in capturing their first league crown in three years. Bad news for the rest of the TVL: Ripon returns all of its top players next year, including two all-league major award recipients and four all-league selections.
“Going undefeated in league is something we hadn’t done in a while,” third-year head coach Nichole Meyer said. “To win sections and do well in NorCals two years in a row is pretty unbelievable for us. Our goal is the same as it was last year, which is to continue to improve.”
Meyer is the TVL’s Coach of the Year. Sophomore midfielder Aubree Pelon was named Co-Most Outstanding Player, sharing the award with Livingston’s Rebecca Sobevilla. Ripon junior Kierra Chavez earned Most Valuable Defense. Hilmar striker Genavieve Fontes received Most Valuable Offense after amassing a league-best 35 overall goals including 18 in TVL contests.
The versatile Pelon exemplified Ripon’s drive for improvement. She enjoyed a massive breakthrough in production, scoring 20 goals and 19 assists in 24 games — up from 13 and five in 22 contests her freshman year.
One of her biggest moments came in a road match against runner-up Livingston. She scored the lone goal on a breakaway in the 73rd minute.
“It was a very easy decision on our part to nominate her,” Meyer said. “She was definitely instrumental in big games and is just a great all-around player. She’s up for any challenge and shows true leadership on the field at all times.”
Chavez was an anchor for Ripon’s stingy back line that helped goalie Ashley Pugh rack up six clean sheets in 10 league games. The Indians surrendered just five goals total against TVL opponents.
“All season long I had to give credit to our entire back line, but Kierra kept it organized,” Meyer said. She has shown the most growth the last three years and I am really proud of her for that.”
Sophomores Devaney Dougherty (15 goals, 10 assists, Ariana Scholten (24 goals, 17 assists) and Kailey Tijero (five goals, nine assists) join junior defender Deanna Sandoval on the all-league team.
Earning honorable mention: freshman forward Hailey Peterson, freshman midfielder Maddy Winter, senior defender Nicole Brown, sophomore keeper Ashley Pugh, sophomore forward Hailey Pugh and freshman midfielder Ellie Everhart.
Ripon’s boys team did not get any all-league selections. Julian Cabrera is the boys MVP after leading Livingston (11-1, 23-4-2) to the championship with 39 goals and 23 assists. Runner-up Hilmar, which claimed the SJS Division V title, has two major-award winners in Offensive Player of the Year Bryan Millan and Defensive Player of the Year Miguel Padilla.