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Soto secures Ripon win over Hughson with key saves
Ripon Highs Matthew Uecker chases down the loose ball after Ripon Christian keeper Lukas Vermeulen knocked down his initial shot attempt during their nonleague contest on Aug. 27. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Ripon High’s boys soccer team rebounded nicely from last week’s Trans-Valley League opening loss with a 2-0 win over Hughson Monday at Ripon Elementary.

Arik Anaya broke the ice with a penalty kick in the 11th minute, but the Indians (1-1, 5-6 overall) failed to score again until the final seconds when Flavio Valadao provided the insurance goal.

“We couldn’t hit an open net if it was standing in front of us,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said of the Indians’ inability to finish off shots all game.

Freshman goalkeeper Johnathan Soto did his part in keeping the Indians ahead. He twice thwarted Hughson (0-1-1, 0-8-2) in the second half, deflecting away attempts that came via unmarked players from short range.

“He saved our (backsides),” DeBruyn said. “He stepped it up and had two huge saves for us. If it weren’t for him, we may have had another loss like we did in Escalon.”

Last Wednesday, Ripon could not hold on to leads of 2-1 and 3-2 in a heartbreaking defeat. Monday’s effort was better all-around, said DeBruyn.

“We played well. I can’t say anything bad about how we played besides the fact that we couldn’t finish,” DeBruyn said. “Defensively, I moved some guys around and came up with different looks, and that help give us some good goal-scoring opportunities.

“I’m happy with how they played, and it’s how I want them to play next week against Riverbank.”

The league-favorite Bruins visit Ripon on Aug. 24.

Southern League

Ripon Ch. 0, Gustine 0

Brayden Van Vuren was the player of the game for the Knights (1-1-1, 5-2-2), who hung tough with the two-time defending SL champion. The keeper came through with eight saves to help preserve the scoreless draw.

It was a favorable result for RC as it keeps pace in what is shaping up to be a four-team battle for the league title and three Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths. Gustine previously defeated Waterford 3-0, and Waterford opened league play with a loss to Waterford by the same score. First-place Delhi squared off with Waterford on Monday.