Four goals proved to be more than enough for Escalon’s varsity soccer boys, as they defeated host Hilmar in the regular season finale, 4-1.
The game was on Monday, Feb. 13 and saw the Cougars take a 3-0 lead in the first half.
“About eight minutes in, Juan Albor got a goal, assisted by Chris Gallo,” said head coach Paul Silva. “It was on a corner kick, a nice play, Juan got in a good position to get it in.”
Three minutes later, Andrew Benitez scored, Gallo again notching the assist.
Sixteen minutes in to the half, Guillermo Alvarez notched a goal to make it 3-0 Escalon, with Hector Rodriguez credited with the assist.
“We got up 3-0 pretty quickly in the game and then three minutes into the second half, Andrew Benitez scored again, with the assist from Hector Rodriguez,” Silva said.
Hilmar spoiled the shutout bid a few minutes later, getting one through, but Escalon’s defense was up to the task and kept them off the board the rest of the way.
“We played pretty well, moved the ball around and frustrated them, for sure,” Silva said of earning the road win against Hilmar.
Luis Mendez had four saves in goal; Ismael Gonzalez also made four saves as the goalies split time in the nets.
Escalon, 18-0-2 overall, was the Trans-Valley League champion with a record of 11 wins, no losses and one tie in league play and went into the playoffs as the Number 2 seed in Sac-Joaquin Section Division V action. They were scheduled to open up the playoffs at home, hosting No. 7 Venture Academy out of Stockton on Tuesday, Feb. 21, after The Times went to press.
Silva said due to the bad condition of both the varsity and JV soccer fields due to recent rains, the team was moving to an area of the Escalon High School campus adjacent to the JV baseball field, off Stanislaus Street, for the opening round game. A win on Tuesday would see the Cougars back in action on Thursday, Feb. 23, taking on the winner of the first round match-up between No. 3 Natomas and No. 6 Highlands. On the other side of the bracket, top seed West Campus was scheduled to play No. 8 Calaveras in Tuesday’s opening round, while No. 4 Linden was to host No. 5 Foothill.
The Section title game for Division V is scheduled for Thursday, March 2, at a site and time to be announced.
Closing out their season on a successful note, the JV Cougar boys traveled to Hilmar for their finale on Feb. 13 and came away with the win, 2-1.
“Gustavo Hernandez scored both goals,” said head coach Polo Rodriguez.
Both of them came in the first half and neither had any assists, Hernandez putting his team on top 2-0 at the break.
“In the second half, they got one on a penalty kick,” Rodriguez said of Hilmar.
Nevertheless, that was the only score the host Yellowjackets put in the net, and Escalon got the win. That left them with an 8-2 Trans-Valley League record for the season, finishing in second place overall and losing only to Riverbank in league play. Overall, the team had an outstanding season as well, with 15 wins, one tie and just four losses.
Escalon’s soccer girls took the field for their final game of the season on Monday, Feb. 13 at home, hosting Hilmar.
For the varsity squad, it was the last game of their high school careers for seniors Lexi Wheeler and Angelica Fernandez and the two were honored for their contributions over the years prior to the contest.
On the field, it was a 6-1 win for the visiting Hilmar girls, finding a way to get the ball in the net.
Leticia Gutierrez made six saves in goal for Escalon but the Lady Yellowjackets just had too much firepower.
Fernandez notched the goal in her last game for the Lady Cougars, with Gabby Goodman getting the assist.
For the JV girls, they ended their season with a 2-0 victory.
“Litcia Delgado scored both goals, with both assists from Mariana Guerrero,” said JV coach Jen Schmidt.
The JV girls finished the season with three wins, two losses and one tie in Trans-Valley League action.