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JV Soccer Boys Capture Tournament Championship
JV boys soccer
Members of the Escalon JV Cougars soccer squad, including head coach Polo Rodriguez, left, line up to exchange high fives with the Buhach Colony team after Escalon captured the Gregori Tournament championship with a victory over the Atwater area school. Photo Contributed

After splitting their first two games of the non-league preseason campaign, Escalon’s JV soccer boys traveled to the Gregori Tournament over the weekend and came home with the championship.

They first faced off with Linden on Monday, Nov. 27 and fell in a close 4-3 final. Gustavo Hernandez had two goals and Jose Reyes scored one in the loss.

Wednesday at home hosting Argonaut, the squad came away with a 7-1 victory with three goals from Ricky Erazo leading the way. Willyam Vargas notched a pair of goals, Emiliano Ramirez and Gustavo Hernandez added one goal each.

Then it was off to Gregori for four games, the JV Cougars winning all four to bring home the top honors.

They took on Riverbank in Friday’s opening round action, winning 4-2. Hernandez had two goals, Ramirez and Erazo added one apiece.

Taking on Grace Davis to start a trio of contests Saturday, it was a 1-0 win. Goalie Clay Evans had four saves in the win and Jose Reyes got the game winner.

“It was a pretty close game,” said coach Polo Rodriguez.

Next up was a game against Beyer High School and the Cougars put away the Patriots, 6-0.

Gabriel Romero and Erazo had one goal each, with two goals apiece from Hernandez and CJ Borrego.

Based on a point system – with points awarded for wins, goals scored and bonus points for a shutout – the three victories put Escalon into the championship game against Buhach Colony.

“It was a 2-0 win but it was 0-0 in the first half,” Rodriguez said. “It wasn’t until the last 10 minutes of the second half that we scored.”

Borrego and Vargas tallied the goals for the JV Cougars.

“The defense really stepped up for us and Clay had some amazing saves,” Rodriguez noted.

The coach said the team got stronger as the tournament went on, the ability to play several games in succession helping them find their rhythm and work better together on the pitch.

“It was amazing to see the kids go out and win it,” Rodriguez said.

The team came home with a soccer ball trophy for the first place showing.

They were scheduled to play at Calaveras on Tuesday, after The Times went to press, then will have the opportunity to get in some more practices this week.