RIPON — Despite an overwhelming 14-7 shot advantage, the Hilmar High Yellowjackets just couldn’t pull off another win over the Ripon High Indians on Thursday. Ripon scored early and then held on for a 2-1 win at the Ripon Elementary field.
Ripon High’s third-year varsity junior Arik Anaya scored the game’s first goal after missing the team’s first 17 contests with an MCL tear and had bandages on his right knee Thursday as proof of the injury.
Hilmar (4-3) beat the Indians 3-0 in the TVL opener Sept. 13
“It was tons of fun just being able to touch the ball again,” Anaya said. “We definitely needed this one for our playoff chances, so it was great to be able to come out with a win.”
Anaya’s presence had an immediate effect on the Indians (3-4, 5-14 overall), who controlled the first 25 minutes of the match while creating scoring opportunities on counterattacks.
And that was how Anaya struck in the 15th minute, breaking free along the left sideline before crossing the ball as he closed in on the left post. The ball was deflected off a Hilmar defender, and Anaya was there to put it away.
“It was a confidence booster for the other 10 guys out there,” Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn said of Anaya’s return. “They know he’s the guy on this team. He dictates things for us in the middle and brings so much energy He really sparked the team in the beginning.”
Ripon doubled the lead nine minutes later, with Andre DeDonatis cashing in off Sam Bennet’s cornerkick.
That was Hilmar’s cue to take over. With 13 minutes to go in the first half, Chris Silva was presented the Yellowjackets’ first legitimate opportunity to score with a header that floated high and right of the right post. He nearly scored again in the 33rd minute when his shot from the 18-yard line was thwarted by Ripon keeper Henk Gaalswyk (two saves).
Silva finally netted Hilmar’s only goal nine minutes into the second half with a well-placed volley from Richard Jimenez’s cross.
Hilmar continued to dominate possession until about 65th minute, but Ripon’s defense, led by senior sweeper Cesar Nuno, held tough. The Yellowjackets had an overwhelming 14-7 shot advantage but only 4-3 for attempts that were on frame. And to Ripon’s credit, they never threatened with breakaway or 1-on-1 opportunities.
Next, Hilmar will face Hughson at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Hughson.
To contact Jonamar Jacinto, e-mail email@example.com, or call 249-3538.