It was a slow start to the season for the Ripon High girls soccer team.
The wildfires in Northern California forced the Indians to go two weeks without practice due to unhealthy outdoor conditions.
In the first week back, they had three games in three days.
Fast forward to a couple of months later and the Indians won their second straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship with a 3-0 win over Amador at Tokay High School in Lodi on Wednesday. Ripon beat Hilmar in the title game last year.
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“I don’t know if there is ever a key to a championship,” Ripon coach Nichole Meyer said. “We started off the first half extremely strong and we knew they were fast and physical so we focused on what they were strong at.”
Just 90 seconds into the game, the Indians took a 1-0 lead after junior Aubree Pelon scored on a shot from the left side of the box.
“It (the goal) drove the momentum for the rest of the game,” Meyer said. “It gave us more confidence and a little bit of a cushion for the rest of the first half.”
The cushion got a little bit bigger midway through the first half as sophomore Ariana Scholton scored on a shot 18 yards out that went over the goalie’s head. Scholton scored in the 54th minute as well.
It’s the second time in school history the Indians have won two titles in a row as they also went back-to-back in 2009-10.
“Every year, the goal is to get to a section final,” Meyer, the third-year head coach, said. “The girls understand how rare and special it is to win back-to-back titles.
Ripon, which outscored opponents 12-1 in the Div. V playoffs, will next play in the CIF State NorCal Regional Playoffs that begin on Tuesday
They lost in the Div. IV NorCal Regional State Championship last year.
“It (regional playoffs) gave us an incentive to win it (section) and it motivated us from the beginning,” Meyer said. “If we can, we would love to get back to the NorCal final.”