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Svoboda scores 10 goals in Ripon’s playoff-opening win
Oakmont-Ripon boys water polo
Ripon’s Ben Svoboda (8) unleashes a shot on a breakaway against Oakmont. GARY JENSEN/

The Ripon High boys water polo team opened the postseason with a 21-10 victory over Oakmont at the Ervin Zador Aquatic Center.

The No. 2-seeded Indians (10-10) played solid defense and often kept the No. 7 Vikings (9-10) off balanced with their constant attacking in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III affair.

Ripon, the defending champion, will host No. 3 Dixon on Wednesday. The Rams of the Golden Empire League took care of El Dorado, 17-5. It will be a rematch of the 2021 Division III final.

“I thought we played well,” said Indians coach Christian Britton of his young squad featuring eight sophomores, one freshman and a junior.

Of that super sophomore group, attacker Ben Svoboda scored 10 goals to go along with 10 steals and six assists.

Fellow attacker Brody Biedermann scored twice while coming up with five assists and six steals.

Center Ryan Bell had two goals and three steals, McKeane Beier came through with four goals – he also had a steal and an assist – and goalie Benny Rogers finished with six blocks.

Svoboda and Beier found the net in the first period for the Indians, who took a 5-2 early advantage.

Not long after Svoboda opened the second with a quick goal, Oakmont put together its best run, scoring three times to close the gap, 7-5.

Ripon rallied back on goals by Bell, who scored twice during that stretch, along with one each from junior Owen Curtis (he also had two blocks and two steals) and freshman Matthew Lee, who scored twice in the match.

Ahead 11-5 at the break, the Indians dominated the second half, opening the third by netting five unanswered points.

They moved the ball nicely, with Svoboda finding Biedermann during one sequence only for Biedermann to return that favor moments later by setting up Svoboda’s goal.

Biedermann closed out the scoring to give his team a 17-8 advantage, going into the fourth period.

Other contributors for Ripon included Teo West (five assists, four steals), Nathan Selna (one steal) and Chetan Harvey (one block).

Britton is looking for his team to continue building following the convincing first-round D-III win.