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Varsity Soccer Boys Claim Third At Sierra Tournament
Grabbing a 2-0 lead in the first half, Escalon's varsity Cougar soccer players wore down their Amador opponents on Thursday, scoring three more unanswered goals late in the second half to take a 5-0 victory off the field.

Ramon Valencia tallied the first two goals for Escalon, striking about a minute apart midway through the first half. One came on a bad throw in on the Amador team, which Valencia capitalized on; the other was assisted by Freddy Mancilla.

"That gave us a little lead to get comfortable with," said coach Chris Oliveira, who is working with last year's JV coach, Paul Silva, at the varsity level this season.

In the second half, the host Cougars were able to use subs and keep players fresh, while the smaller Amador squad had trouble keeping pace.

"We wore them down in the heat," agreed Oliveira.

Armando Becerra scored in the second half, assisted by Francisco Martinez; the Amador team put in an own goal for the Cougars just a few minutes later and the final score of the afternoon came from Mancilla.

Oliveira said both he and Silva were pleased with the work of the team, which also scrimmaged against St. Mary's of Stockton earlier in the week before hosting Amador.

"Silva is pretty much coaching, I'm more managing this year," Oliveira said. "He's doing all the hard work."

In Thursday's game, Amador was the aggressor early on, outplaying the Cougars in the opening minutes.

"We had a bunch of chances we didn't really capitalize on," Oliveira said.

After the first goal went in, though, the squad got into a groove and played well the rest of the way.

"This is the kind of team we've been waiting for for a couple of years," said Oliveira. "We're playing real well."

On Saturday, the varsity traveled to the Sierra Tournament in Manteca and finished third out of eight teams.

They opened up the day with a 4-0 shutout of Orestimba out of Newman, scoring three goals in the first half.

Julio Farias had a goal, with the assist from Becerra; then Becerra notched one with an assist from Francisco Martinez. Jose Bueno made it 3-0 Escalon at the half and they added one more, Jose Mancilla scoring in the second half.