Escalon’s soccer teams finished play in the first round of Trans-Valley League action this past week, with the boys on the road and the girls at home.
The varsity soccer boys improved to 6-0 for the first round with a 4-2 victory at Hilmar on Monday, Jan. 22.
“We scored about three minutes in, Guillermo Alvarez got the goal and Hector Rodriguez had the assist, it was a good combination play, they basically sliced through the defense,” explained head coach Paul Silva.
Host Hilmar scored a couple of minutes later to knot the score at 1-1 but it didn’t stay tied for long.
“About one minute later, we got a free kick, Jonathan Valeriano took the kick and Hector Rodriguez scored,” Silva said.
Adding their third goal of the game just a couple of minutes later, it was the Alvarez-Rodriguez combination once again, with Alvarez putting the goal in off the assist from Rodriguez.
“With about five minutes left in the half, Hilmar scored,” Silva said, trimming the lead to 3-2.
Hilmar would be kept off the scoreboard the rest of the way and the teams battled through much of the second half, with Escalon finally getting a second half goal with about 15 minutes left in the game.
“Guillermo scored his third goal of the day, it was a shot from about 35 yards out, the goalie was out of position and I thought he was going to pass it to Hector, who was making a run,” explained Silva. “But Guillermo saw the goalie out and took the shot, put it past him.”
That gave Escalon the two-goal margin of victory and improved their league record to 6-0. Oscar Gonzales had six saves in goal.
“That was the midway point for us,” Silva said of the game. “We’re pretty happy with where we’re at.”
The Cougars are leading the league but Silva said they have to be on guard against any letdown in the second round, as all teams will be looking to hand them a loss.
“We need to avoid complacency,” the coach said. “These guys want to go through league undefeated, last year we tied a game and they want that unblemished record. It’s one thing to say it, now we need to go out and play hard every time.”
After a home game hosting Riverbank on Monday, Jan. 29, the Cougars will be on the road, at Ripon for a Wednesday, Jan. 31 contest and at Mountain House on Friday, Feb. 2.
Making the most of their one game this week, the JV Cougars shut out Hilmar by a 5-0 final on Jan. 22.
Gustavo Hernandez led the way with two goals and two assists, Ricky Erazo had a goal and an assist, with Emiliano Ramirez and C.J. Borrego each notching a goal in the win.
Clay Evans had three saves in goal against the host Yellowjackets.
“In league we are 4-0-1,” said coach Polo Rodriguez, with the JV boys having just one tie to blemish their TVL mark but no losses so far.
They were scheduled to start the second half at home, hosting Riverbank on Jan. 29, then hit the road for games on both Wednesday, Jan. 31 at Ripon and again on Friday, Feb. 2, playing at Mountain House. Game time is 3:30 p.m.
The final score may have been 3-0 in Hilmar’s favor but that wasn’t the real story of the game.
Escalon’s varsity soccer girls got the better of the visitors in the Jan. 22 contest in every area but the scoreboard, said head coach Jamie Peoples.
“We dominated and controlled the game all but the last 12 minutes,” the coach explained. “We couldn’t finish our opportunities but that was the best soccer we have played all season. The score doesn’t tell the story of the game, unfortunately.”
Leticia Gutierrez had three saves in goal.
Action this week will see the girls host Ripon on Wednesday, Jan. 31 and Mountain House on Friday, Feb. 2; they were scheduled to travel to Riverbank to open up the week on Monday, Jan. 29 at 3:30 p.m.
“We came away with a 3-1 win against Hilmar,” head coach Jen Schmidt said of her JV squad hosting the Lady Yellowjackets on Jan. 22.
Alexis Barron scored the team’s first goal, coming on a header, off an assist from Liz Cortez.
“Liz scored our second goal from a direct kick,” Schmidt said. “Our third and final goal was made by our stopper, Brianna Cerceda, to finish the game.”
The defense was stingy, keeping Hilmar under control.
“I was very proud of my girls for showing how much they wanted to win that game,” Schmidt added. “They were tired at the end but kept pushing to keep the lead.”
The girls will be back in action hosting Ripon and Mountain House this week, with 3:30 p.m. contests both Wednesday, Jan. 31 and Friday, Feb. 2. They were scheduled to play at Riverbank on Monday, Jan. 29 to open up the second half of league play.