RIPON — Ripon Christian’s girls soccer team has been busy the last six days.
The Knights opened their Southern League schedule with a 1-0 loss to defending champion Mariposa last Thursday. Then on Saturday, they won four matches en route to capturing the Lady Lions Cup title at Big Valley Christian.
Ripon Christian faced yet another tough conference opponent Tuesday in visiting Waterford and did well to come away with a 1-1 tie in soggy conditions.
That’s six games in six days.
Natalie Van Groningen gave Ripon Christian (0-1-1, 5-4-2 overall) the early lead with a chip shot launched from the top of the 18-yard line and sent over goalie Lupita Gutierrez. Brooke Hill knotted it for Waterford (2-0, 4-1-2) just two minutes later.
“There was a little concern as far as conditioning, but we have a very large team now that we have our basketball players back as of (Monday),” said RC coach Kevin Tameling. “That should help us out a lot. We’ve played a lot of soccer the past few days.”
Sophomore Teagan Manus and Kaylie Colyn join the fold after leading the girls basketball team to a CIF Northern California playoff appearance. They add athleticism to the squad that has struggled in producing goals. Not counting Saturday’s tournament, the Knights have scored just three goals in six matches.
They had a chance to take the lead in the closing minutes Tuesday. Manus delivered a through ball into the box, and with keeper Gutierrez out of the goal area Van Groningen pushed her point-blank shot just wide of the right post.
“In the tournament we finished with 13 goals in four games, so we know we can score,” Tameling said. “It’s something we’re working on — our touches, our composure in the offensive zone, creating and capitalizing on our shots.”
On the other end, the defense remains solid. Ripon Christian’s back line warded off waves of attacking runs for about the first 25 minutes of the second half. Vanessa Vallo fared well in the goal box for RC in place of usual starter Brittany Petlansky (back), finishing with 10 saves.
“Our defense has been our rock throughout the year,” Tameling said. “(Sweeper) Ashley Bloemhof does a nice job of picking up balls in the backfield, but it’s a whole team effort on defense. We have our midfielders help out a lot back there, too.”
Ripon Christian heads to Le Grand Thursday.