Only one goal was scored the last time the Southern League’s reigning girls soccer co-champions met.
On Thursday, Ripon Christian and host Mariposa combined for five in the first half alone, and Abby Buitrago helped the Knights escape with a 3-3 draw with a late goal. Ripon Christian (11-0-1 SL, 15-6-1 overall) is guaranteed of at least another title share with two games to go, while Mariposa (9-2-1, 10-5-1) remains in the hunt to capture a piece.
It appeared that the Knights were on their way to a 12th straight league win after they opened up a two-goal lead by the 11th minute. Cynthia Van Vliet landed the first blow just seconds after the opening kickoff, as she delivered on a looping shot from the top of the penalty box.
Later, Buitrago came up with the game’s best finish, a well-struck volley off a diagonal cross from Carvalho.
The Bears quickly turned the tables with three unanswered goals from Eliza Amstutz, Kiona Mari and Anna Medema before halftime.
Both defenses tightened up for the final 40-minute stanza. It wasn’t until the 66th minute that Buitrago punched in the equalizer, working a nice give-and-go sequence with Carvalho to set it up.
Ripon Christian hosts third-place Orestimba for its regular-season home finale next Tuesday before heading to Denair on April 30.
Ripon 3, Escalon 1
With second-place Hughson settling for a scoreless draw with Hilmar, Ripon (7-0-1, 14-1-1) clinched at least a share of the Trans-Valley League title after toppling Escalon on the road. Modesto Christian (4-0-4, 7-2-6) still has a shot at a co-championship and heads to Ripon next Tuesday.
Freshman Megan Johnson scored the first and final goals of Thursday’s match in Escalon, striking in the fourth and 38th minutes. Escalon (1-6-1, 1-10-1) knotted it with a long-range shot in the 30th minute, and Alaina Cornilsen put the Indians back ahead for good in the 36th.
Ripon 13, Riverbank 3
In Ripon, Trent Murphy finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs and pitched a complete game for the win.
Angelo Baciocco also drove in three runs and plated two, going 3 for 3. Luke Robison was 3 for 4 with a double and two runs. The Indians (8-4, 13-8) trail first-place Hughson by three games with three to go and hold a one-game advantage over Escalon.
East Union 209,
At Manteca Park Golf Course, medalist Michael Lozano finished 1-over-par 38, and East Union teammates Trevor Baum (40), Clayton Dorland (41) and Alejandro Barajas (43) all scored better than Oakdale’s lowest scorer. Ezra Lendhardt added a 47.
With the win, East Union and Oakdale wrap up the regular season in a second-place tie with 11-3 records. The VOL Championships is next Tuesday at Saddle Creek Golf Course in Copperopolis.
Mountain House DQ
In Tracy, Nick Sharp turned in an impressive 3-under 33 on the links-style front nine at Old River Golf Course.
“That’s a heck of a round,” Ripon coach Chris Musseman said. “It was super windy out there and the greens were slow, so for him to shoot that is impressive. He’s playing well right now.”
Sharp won the Tracy/West Invitational on Monday. Also scoring for the Indians (10-2) on Thursday were Kole Gonzales (40), Justin Brito (43), Josh Angel (46) and Luis Candido (47).
The TVL Tournament takes place Monday at La Contenta Golf Club.