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Cougar Soccer Squads Winding Down League Schedule
Varsity player Mariano Mancilla, 2, looks to gain control of the ball and pass it up to teammate Miguel Granados, 11, during recent action on the home pitch. The varsity squad went 1-1 this past week. Marg Jackson/The Times

It was another up and down week for Escalon’s varsity boys on the soccer field, suffering a one goal loss and then crafting a shutout win.

They were home to host Hughson on Wednesday, Jan. 26 and lost to the Huskies, 3-2.

“There was no score at halftime,” said head coach Paul Silva of the varsity battle, adding that Hughson got on the scoreboard first in the second half. “We then scored both our goals to take a 2-1 lead, only to concede two goals in the last seven minutes.”

Jesse Gomez tallied the first score for Escalon and also got the second, that one with an assist from Miguel Granados.

“We created a lot of chances throughout the game, but we couldn’t finish,” explained Silva.

On Friday afternoon, it was a long road trip to Hilmar and the Cougars came home with a 1-0 win in hand.

“It was a very lackluster first half but we played much better in the second half,” said Silva. “Our goal came midway through the second half, scored by Alexiz Rodriguez. He followed up his initial shot with a tap in.”

On the other end of the field, goalie Aldo Yepiz stopped a Hilmar penalty kick to preserve the victory.

The varsity squad is scheduled to play at Riverbank on Friday, Feb. 4 for their only game of the week. It will be a pivotal contest, as the Cougars look to make the playoffs.

“Just found out that the TVL gets four playoff spots,” Silva confirmed on Monday, noting that a win against the Bruins could help them qualify for one of those four postseason berths.


JV Boys

Continuing to do battle in the Trans-Valley League, the JV Cougar boys fought to a 1-1 tie with Hughson to start their week.

They hosted the Huskies and were down 1-0 at the half.

“We lost to them in the first round,” said JV head coach Polo Rodriguez. “We didn’t score until the last five minutes of the game; Raul Calderon scored unassisted.”

That lifted the JV boys into a tie and they got a big win on the road later in the week. They traveled to Hilmar for a Friday afternoon contest, shutting out the host Yellowjackets by a 10-0 final.

“We were kind of all over the field there,” Rodriguez said of swarming their opponents.

Carlos Diaz had three goals and an assist; Eduardo Cortes had two goals and two assists, as did Raul Calderon. Adding one goal apiece were Dominic Murillo, Dylan Pena and Angel Soto.

“We were up 3-0 at the half and from there we started rotating more, creating more plays,” said Rodriguez.

The JV boys are current 6-1-2 in league play.


Varsity Girls

Splitting their games this week, the varsity soccer girls lost to Hughson but defeated Hilmar.

Head coach Jamie Peoples said the Wednesday game on the road at Hughson came down to the closing seconds of the contest.

“We lost in the last minute of the game, score was 1-0,” Peoples explained. “Karissa McNeil kept us in the game and had her best game of the season, making save after save.”

It was a strong defensive effort on both sides.

“Alyssa Ball played solid defense. We couldn’t get much going offensively but it was a well fought game,” Peoples said.

Friday, the girls were home to host Hilmar and put it altogether in a 4-0 league victory.

“It was probably our best passing game of the year,” said Peoples. “We had so many opportunities.”

Cali Granis scored all four goals for the Lady Cougars on the afternoon. Assists came from Aubryn Evans (2), Jamileth Delgado and Alyssa Ball.

“It was a great team effort,” summarized Peoples. “We end our league season with Riverbank at home Friday (Feb. 4) and will celebrate our only senior, Haylee Barajas.”

Working along the sideline, JV player Carlos Diaz wraps his leg around the ball to control it in a recent Trans-Valley League contest at home. This past week, the JV boys tied Hughson and shut out Hilmar. Marg Jackson/The Times