Varsity girls: Ripon 10, Kimball 8
The Kimball High girls made a strong offensive effort against visiting Ripon High on Monday in their quest to claim a share of the Valley Oak League title.
Ripon’s defense held up against Kimball’s attacks, bringing the Ripon team the 10-8 win and the league championship.
Even with the loss, the Kimball Jaguars (5-2 VOL) will finish league play in second place and make a return trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, where they finished as the SJS Division 3 runners-up last year.
Coach Casey Heinen said that the Kimball team has improved throughout this season, and it showed Monday.
“Compared to our last game against Ripon, I felt like we lost (Sept. 23) because we made tons of mistakes. Today we just lost because they played well also,” he said. “It was a good, evenly matched game, and they got goals on a couple more opportunities. I thought it was the best water polo that we’ve played all year.”
Ripon (7-0 VOL) jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Kimball junior Janika Tanjuakio scored at the end of the first quarter and the start of the second quarter to cut Ripon’s lead to 3-2. Senior Ella Bernal scored another long shot midway through the second quarter to tie it up 3-3.
Ripon scored two more goals after that, and Kimball junior Jill Lucero scored on a shot up the middle to make it a 5-4 game, with Ripon in the lead, at the half.
Ripon held the lead for the rest of the game in spite of Kimball continuing to run an effective offense. The Ripon team scored two more goals early in the third quarter, and while Kimball launched attacks, Ripon junior goalie Madyson Valencia blocked the Jaguars’ shots, making eight blocks in the second half, to keep them from catching up.
Lucero said she and her team had expected the Ripon goalie to be their biggest obstacle.
“I knew that the goalie was really good, and I knew that to be able to score off her, we would have to catch her off guard,” she said. “We couldn’t run the basic offense, and we would have to make sure all of our offense was together and knew what we were doing so we could catch the goalie off guard, shoot the ball and score.”
Senior Olivia Taylor fired in Kimball’s only third-quarter goal from up the middle, but Ripon scored again to make it an 8-5 game going into the fourth quarter.
Tanjuakio scored early in the fourth quarter with an assist from Lucero, and she moved in close for another unassisted goal to get the Jaguars within a goal. But the Ripon team scored twice more and Valencia continued blocking the home team’s shots. Kimball got one last goal in the final minute when Lucero scored with an assist from freshman Lauryn Lucero.
Tanjuakio said that the Jaguars had plenty of reason to be confident even after the loss.
“It didn’t go our way, but we’re still happy that we’re going to playoffs,” she said. “I think we really work well together. Our communication and cooperation is really good this year. We really blend easily.”
Varsity boys: Ripon 12, Kimball 8
The Ripon team came out with a strong defense on Monday that kept the Kimball team from getting close to the goal. The visitors ran out to a 4-0 lead before the Jaguars got on the scoreboard with senior Ethan Dennis skimming a shot across the pool and into the goal.
Ripon held a 5-1 lead going into the second quarter and shut out Kimball for the rest of the first half to hold an 8-1 halftime lead.
Kimball opened the third quarter with junior Gabe Chandler scoring with an assist from sophomore Jason Garcia. While the Jaguars were short-handed, with only seven players and no substitution for the entire game, they stepped up their offense in the second half.
Chandler said that his team expected a strong opponent in Ripon but wasn’t going to be intimidated.
“We were just going to give it our all. We definitely respect Ripon, but we’re going to give it 100%,” he said.
Dennis scored again in the third quarter, and Chandler scored another with an assist from Garcia. Ripon still held the lead, 10-4, at the end of the third.
Kimball came back to outscore Ripon in the fourth quarter. Garcia scored two goals early in the fourth, one of them with an assist from Chandler, and Chandler scored two goals midway through the quarter. The teams closed out the game with strong defense on both sides.
Varsity girls: Mountain House 14, Pacheco 4
The Mustangs (9-13, 4-8 Western Athletic Conference) took an early lead and were up 11-1 at the half when they went on the road Oct. 17 to Pacheco High in Los Banos.
The teams played a more even match in the second half, and Mountain House won 14-4.
Junior goalie Gabriela Cuellar played a solid game with 10 blocked shots, and sophomore Velvet-Rose King scored two goals and had 10 steals. Seniors Parinita Jithendra and Nicole Nguyen and juniors Shambhavi Sisodiya and Sruthika Prakash scored three goals each.