For the fourth time this season, Hilmar and Ripon High varsity girls soccer squared off on the pitch, only this time it was for the Division-V Sac-Joaquin Section Championship.
On a cold, wet and windy night, both teams met in a neutral site at Turlock’s Joe Debely Stadium for the chance at a blue banner — and for only the second time this season, the Yellowjackets of Hilmar came out on the losing end after a close overtime finale that concluded 1-0.
“The girls were ready. We played Ripon before, it was the fourth time this year. Obviously, we beat them twice, tied once and won the TVL, undefeated and everyone knew that,” said Hilmar head coach Doug Delay. “Even with all that, we came out ready to play. We practiced well leading up to this game and we gave them a battle, but credit to them.”
It took only one miscue for either team to capitalize after a stalemate regulation.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net or any open shots.
The game was played in the middle for majority of the time, however, Ripon had some chances in the first half.
The Indians of Ripon pressed and held possession on their attacking third for a majority of the second half.
This led to Mikayla Schmidt of Hilmar coming away with several saves in the first half alone and the game went into halftime scoreless at 0-0.
At the 72nd minute, Ripon saw its most open look off a free kick near the penalty area but didn’t capitalize on the opportunity.
With about a minute left in regulation, Hilmar senior JuliAnn Machado was able to shoot a ball from 22 yards out, but the shot was saved.
In the first half of overtime, it took just three minutes for Ripon to find the back of the net on a corner kick miscue by Hilmar.
“The difference in the game was a ricochet off a corner kick, it wasn’t a ball that caught us off guard,” said Delay. “That was the difference. We also took a penalty early in the game, but that changed the backline, and even then, players stepped up in different positions and we almost had that equalizer late in the game, but extremely happy and proud of our team.”
The game opened up after the goal and Hilmar managed to continue to press and attack.
With three minutes left till the first half of overtime ended, Machado was able to find sophomore Emily Vieira on a corner kick, but her header was saved.
“It is hard to put all in perspective right now, but I know when I go to sleep and reflect on the season, it was a good year,” said Delay. “Two losses, we give up one goal in league and first goal in playoffs.”
Hilmar ends their year having won their second straight Trans-Valley League title with a 9-0-1 record, outscoring opponents 42-1.
They allowed just a single goal in three playoff games and allowed their first goal since Jan. 24.
The team also captured their first 20-plus win season in over 10 years, after closing out this season at 20-2-6.