RIPON -- Louie Bettencourt knew his Hilmar girls soccer team would be in for a battle with Ripon.
With these two clubs, it always is.
However, things were even chippier than that between the old Trans-Valley League rivals.
Thursday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal turned into a heavyweight boxing match, with Hilmar prevailing 2-1 in double overtime.
There were three yellow cards, three red cards, a couple of cramps, one bloody nose and enough elbows, trips and hard tackles to last 12 rounds.
In the end, though, the reigning section champs delivered the knockout punch.
Noel Silveira scored two goals, including the eventual game-winner with five minutes left in the second overtime, as short-handed Hilmar advanced to Saturday's final.
Hilmar overcame a rash of red cards -- and 100-degree heat -- to beat Ripon for the third time in two seasons.
"We've had some trouble this season with composing ourselves," a winded Silveira said. "Sometimes we can get a little out of hand with the red cards, but we held on today. We did a good job."
Hilmar (23-4-2) will take on Central Catholic in an all-Western Athletic Conference showdown at Lincoln High in Stockton on Saturday at noon.
Central Catholic beat Linden on penalty kicks, 4-2.
"This game had a little bit of everything," Bettencourt said. "My girls played unbelievable. Everyone stepped up, stuck together -- and we played a man down the whole time. Can you believe that?"
Cause for celebration? Hardly.
The mood was dampened by a pair of ejections and an afternoon sun that kept everyone running for the ice chests.
Cousins Tiffani Castro and Haylee Bettencourt -- Hilmar's leading scorer -- will miss the final because of red cards.
Both ejections came at inopportune times, too. Castro was ejected in the final minute of the first half for taunting the official and Bettencourt in the final minute of the second overtime for arguing.
"I wish I could have those two," coach Bettencourt said. "Now I have to do some weaving and mending with my lineup. It's a shame."
Even Silveira struggled to muster the energy for a smile. She emptied her tank on her final goal-scoring run.
The play began up the right sideline. Blake Lopes centered a pass to Haylee Bettencourt, who sped into the box and drew Ripon goalie Morgan Torres-Unger off her line.
Bettencourt then led Silveira, who was streaking to the back post.
"I saw the ball and all I could think was 'This is it, this is it.' I had to get it," said Silveira, who also scored on a header in the 50th minute to make it 1-1.
"There were a couple that I just missed earlier in the game because they were out of my reach."
This one was right in her wheelhouse. Silveira booted the ball into an open net for a 2-1 lead.
"Right place at the right time, coach Bettencourt said. "I always tell her that you have to keep moving, and if you do, something will happen. She did a fantastic job."
Ripon coach Jose Bobadilla was far more critical of his club. Ripon (20-5-1) played most of the match with a man advantage and a 1-0 lead, but failed to close out the win.
Hilmar goalie Krystal Gaglio was beaten by a rocket shot off the boot of Kallie Jacobs in the 33rd minute, but was a wall the rest of the way.
Gaglio had 10 stops, including several acrobatic saves off her goal line.
Lindsey Mendes held Ripon leading scorer Renae McFadden scoreless. McFadden had four goals in a first-round win over Calaveras.
"We fought and fought," Bobadilla said. "The girls were ready and they wanted to win. Unfortunately, we were off target today."