RIPON — The latest installment of the Ripon-Hilmar High soccer postseason rivalry fit the script Tuesday afternoon.
Renae McFadden side-stepped Hilmar goalie Riley Fielder midway through the second half for an open-net goal, securing the victory.
Goalie Morgan Torres-Unger had five saves and recorded her 47th career shutout and the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 champions kept their title defense alive with a 1-0 win.
"We knew it would be this way," said Ripon coach Jose Bobbadilla, whose team now has won two straight against Hilmar after going 0-25-1 in their previous 26 meetings.
"Hilmar always gives us a great contest; always a great rival. We knew they'd be ready, even though they're a third seed," he said.
Hilmar (14-7-3), the Western Athletic Conference's third-place team, played like a top seed, dominating the Trans Valley League champs for the final 45 minutes of the game.
But Ripon (18-2-3) only needed a small window of opportunity — and the ball at McFadden's feet.
The slick forward ran underneath a long clearance in the 63rd minute, heading it away from Hilmar sweeper Caitlin Brunner to spring a breakaway.
"I had good body position," said McFadden, bound for the University of the Pacific in the fall. "Honestly, I thought 'This ball's going over her head' and I just had to run."
She carried the ball for more than 45 yards with a pair of Hilmar defenders locked onto her hips.
Fielder left her line, cutting off the shooting angles with her 6-foot frame and long arms, forcing McFadden to make a split-second decision.
Would she shoot left? Or right?
McFadden went left — away from her dominant foot — hoping to fool Fielder, her club teammate.
McFadden touched the ball into open space around Fielder's outstretched hands and finished from a tough angle for her 35th goal of the season.
The strike deflated Hilmar, which outshot Ripon 8-4 in the second half and squandered several near-scoring chances.
"Sometimes, that's what happens when you're pushing to get that goal," Hilmar coach Louie Bettencourt said. "We pushed up and they got the breakaway. ... That's the only thing they did and they put it into the net."