Defense played a big part in the Ripon Christian girls soccer team’s return to the top of the Southern Athletic League.
Kirsi Vander Meulen was the rock from her center-back position on stingy defensive third, and third-year senior was rewarded with the All-SAL Most Valuable Player award. Vander Meulen is one of four Ripon Christian girls players to make all-league, while the boys team has one.
Ripon Christian’s Kevin Tameling shares Coach of the Year honors with Ruben Casillas of third-place Waterford.
The Lady Knights finished 13-0-1 in league and 17-5-2 overall, claiming their first SAL crown since earning five straight in 2012-17. Vander Meulen led Ripon Christian to nine shutouts in 13 league outings — one match was forfeited by Denair. They allowed just one goal in two first-place showdowns against then-reigning champ Mariposa (11-2-1, 11-3-2 overall), which ended as the runner-up. Also making all-league are senior forward Rachel Oosterman, junior winger Elle Van Wyngarden and senior midfielder Janine Prins.
Van Wyngarden finished as the Knights’ overall scoring leader with 20 goals and nine assists. She exploded for four goals in a 5-0 Delhi and had 14 goals in league. Oosterman also netted 20 goals while assisting seven. She recorded hat tricks against Waterford and Delhi and scored 18 of her goals in league. Prins contributed with three goals and three assists.
Junior defender Adriana Arias and senior goalkeeper Nicole Chapman got honorable mention.
Senior midfielder and captain Ethan De Jong was voted to the all-league boys first team for Ripon Christian (0-12-2, 1-19-2). Sophomore defender Isaac Buwalda and junior midfielder Hakyeom Park made honorable mention.
Le Grand senior forward Julian Valencia is the boys MVP, and Milko Vasquez is Coach of the Year after leading Waterford (11-0-3, 17-6-3) to the SAL championship.
MVP — Kirsi Vander Meulen, Ripon Christian, Sr.
Co-Coaches of the Year — Kevin Tameling, Ripon Christian; Ruben Casillas, Waterford
All-league — Ripon Christian: Rachel Oosterman, Sr.; Elie Van Wyngarden, Jr.; Janine Prins, Sr. Mariposa: Lupin Amstutz, So.; Ava Dunlavey, Jr.; Ruby Yager, Jr. Waterford: Jaecelyn Romero, Sr.; Cassandra Andrade, Sr. Orestimba: Sophia Avila, Jr.; Paola Arroyo, Jr. Gustine: Erandi Barriga, Sr.; Maria Andrade, Sr. Le Grand: Natalia Verduzco, Sr. Delhi: Isis Rocha, Jr.; Angela Salazar, So.
Honorable mention — Delhi: Aaliyah Chavez, Fr.; Karla Segovia, Fr. Gustine: Leilani Aguilera, So.; Katie Casillas, Sr. Le Grand: Celina Lua, So.; Asusena Escamilla, Sr. Mariposa: Patricia Flanagan, Sr.; Autumn Dobson, Jr. Orestimba: Melony Garcia, Sr.; Kimberly Beltran, Sr. Ripon Christian: Adriana Arias, Jr.; Nicole Chapman, Sr. Waterford: Yesenia Andrade, So.; Alondra Mendoza, Sr.
MVP — Julian Valencia, Le Grand, Sr.
Coach of the Year — Milko Vazquez, Waterford
All league — Waterford: Emanuel Regalado, Sr.; German Del Toro, Sr.; Alexander Noriega, Sr.; Fernando Castillo, Jr. Le Grand: Abel Velasco, Sr.; Hector Tejada, Jr.; Brian Lua, Jr. Delhi: Victor Galindo, Jr.; Rigoberto Ayala, So.; Gabriel Aguilar, Jr. Orestimba: Brian Mondragon, Sr.; Ricardo Garcia, Jr.. Gustine: Danny Hernandez, So. Mariposa: Ramiro Marquez, Sr. Ripon Christian: Ethan De Jong, Sr.
Honorable mention — Delhi: Brian Gonzalez, Jr.; Devin Lopez, Jr. Denair: Christian Obanda, Sr.; Jesus Flores, Sr. Gustine: Esteban Bugarin, Jr.; Jesus Hernandez, Jr. Le Grand: Alfredo Moreno, Sr.; Yahis Gonzalez, Jr. Mariposa: Zachary Fincher, Sr.; Beck Westerlund, Jr. Orestimba: Eduardo Carranza, Sr.; Julian Ferdin, Sr. Ripon Christian: Hakyeom Park, Jr.; Isaac Buwalda, So. Waterford: Omar Canela, So.; Alexander Barajas, Jr.