JACKSON — Ripon Christian proved it can hang in Division VI on Wednesday.
Winners of the last two Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII titles, the Knights just missed a shot at making a fourth consecutive championship-round appearance after losing a penalty kick shootout 4-3 to No. 2 Argonaut. The two teams battled to a scoreless draw through two overtime periods. Abigail House clinched the Mustangs’ spot in the finals in the fifth round of PKs. Sam Carvalho, Abby Buitrago and Kelly Engel made converted their penalties for the Knights (17-7-1).
Argonaut will play No. 4 Bradshaw Christian at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lincoln High of Stockton. Bradshaw upset No. 1-seeded Modesto Christian, 1-0.
“We knew with the new rule that if we won league we’d move up a division, but our team was ready for the challenge,” Ripon Christian coach Kevin Tameling said. “It was a tight game that could have gone either way.”
Argonaut (14-8) was the aggressor for much of the first half, but the Knights defense, anchored by Bailey Broker and Paige Vos, held it together until the break.
Roles were reversed for the remainder of the game, as Ripon Christian took control of the action and had several near misses. Buitrago had a head shot set up by a long cross from Carvalho, but it was batted away by Argonaut’s keeper. Late in overtime Rachel Faure had an attempt deflect off a defender sail inches wide of the post.
“A lot of the girls had their best game of the season,” Tameling said. “Unfortunately, things didn’t go our way today, but I couldn’t be more proud of them.”