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Balanced Attack Propels Soccer Girls To Victories
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Keeping up a busy pace, the soccer girls are winning more than they are losing.

The Lady Cougars hosted Oakdale in non-league action Monday, Feb. 23 and took a shutout win off the field, then traveled to the Riverbank Tournament for games Friday and Saturday. There, they won one, lost one and tied one.

"Our 2-0 win at home against Oakdale made us 3-0 to start the season, against three very good teams," said coach Craig Humrichouse.

Escalon's first goal on Monday came on an unassisted play by Tiana Garcia.

"It was a great play, she carried the ball down the sidelines, turned it and put it in," Humrichouse explained. "She had been dominating on that side all through the first half."

Second goal came from Ashley Brown, who was inserted into Garcia's spot and also was able to work around the tired defender from Oakdale that had been trying to keep up with Garcia. The two-goal edge was more than enough for the Lady Cougars.

"Natalie Gallego had five saves in goal and she played excellent," Humrichouse said. "She is really developing into a great player for us at goalie."

Also getting high praise for her efforts in the game was Kaity Bojorquez, a ninth grader who is seeing time at trailing forward.

"She's been playing great for us and just had an excellent match against Oakdale," said Humrichouse.

In the Riverbank Tournament, the girls played two matches on Friday and one on Saturday.

"Chelsea Fachner and Natalie Gallego, our keepers, were both at the PIT conference so I brought up Sarah Quiroz from the JV team," Humrichouse explained. "She had a fantastic weekend at goalie for us."

Facing off first against Foothill, a Division II school, the Lady Cougars lost a 1-0 decision on Friday.

"We outshot them, we outplayed them but we couldn't score, we were shanking the ball over the net, off to the site," noted the coach.

Against Denair in their second game of the day, it was a 6-0 shutout win for Escalon.

"We totally overmatched them," Humrichouse said.

Cherie Homen started the scoring with an assist from Bojorquez, then Christina Balcita put in one unassisted. Kacey Ball, with an assist from Brown, got the game's prettiest goal to make it a 3-0 lead.

"If they ever did an instructional film on how to take the ball up the middle and score, this would be it," Humrichouse said. "It was a highlight film goal."

Balcita then scored with an assist from Sophia Vasquez and then defensive back London Crocker carried the ball in for an unassisted goal. Ball rounded out the scoring with her second goal of the game, this one unassisted.

Quiroz made four saves against Foothill in the opener but was not tested against Denair.

Saturday, the girls played to a 1-1 tie with Ripon Christian.

"They scored on a nice shot from their left wing," said Humrichouse. "It arced over our goalie's head to the far post, it was a save no one would have made."

Escalon got even with a second half goal from Brown, scoring on a breakaway. It was a match that the coach feels his team dominated, though the score was tied at the end.

"Sarah had two saves and I have nothing but praise for her, she did an excellent job," he said of the JV player pressed into varsity action. "She was nervous and excited, she stepped up and played outstanding for us."

Also earning high marks was Severa Salazar, playing at midfield and outside halfback, contributing to the victories.

The girls will be back in action for the Bret Harte Tournament, Friday and Saturday.