PATTERSON — After battling each and every game through an always-challenging Trans Valley League season, the Ripon Indians were forced to make the trip to Patterson to open the postseason.
And it didn’t go well in a 3-1 loss to the Western Athletic Conference champion, as Ripon’s season ends in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs.
Ripon’s last playoff appearance, and first in program history, was made in 2007. Patterson eliminated the Indians 5-2 in the semifinal round that year.
On Tuesday, the Indians (21-6-1) headed into the halftime intermission tangled in a scoreless tie, giving Patterson all they could handle over the first 40 minutes. As the second half unfolded, the Tigers became more and more assertive, capitalizing on each of Ripon’s defensive miscues on their way to the win.
“It really just was about winning some more balls in the middle,” Ripon head coach Jaime DeBruyn said. “If we could have controlled that area we could have had more scoring opportunities.
“We played a good first half, but we made some mistakes in the second.”
The Indians put together an impressive run to land a spot in the playoffs. The first-round loss is by no means the measuring stick for Ripon’s season, but it is the reality of tough luck in the seeding.
“Going to Patterson is definitely not the direction we wanted to go in playoffs,” Debruyn said. “It was a mixture of Patterson being a very fast team and a ball control team. Their team speed really showed (Tuesday).
“Also, the way the ball plays on that turf field, we’re just not used to that.”
Ripon scored its lone goal at the 79th minute when Matty Gay made good on a shot assisted by junior Jared Ratto.
The Indians will lose a ton of senior leadership next year, making an already-tough job of returning to the postseason that much tougher.
“My seniors will be missed,” DeBruyn said. “Three of them have been playing for all four years; these guys were a strong senior class.
“They all will definitely be missed next year.”
— Jagada Chambers