With a non-league game on the road and three contests in the Ripon Christian Tournament, the Escalon varsity soccer boys went 3-1 for the week and earned runner-up honors in tourney play.
Kicking off the week at Calaveras, the Cougars took a 5-0 victory.
“It was 2-0 at halftime,” said head coach Paul Silva. “We drew a penalty kick in the first couple minutes of the game, Hector Rodriguez scored on that shot.”
With five minutes left in the first half, Guillermo Alvarez netted a goal, giving Escalon a 2-0 advantage.
They went on to add three more scores in the second half, all the goals coming in the first 12 minutes of that half. Hector Rodriguez scored with an assist from Naul Melendez; Jonathan Valeriano scored on what Silva called “a laser beam” from the top of the box, assisted by Angel Sanchez; Alvarez put in the final goal of the game off an assist from Valeriano.
“We split the time in net, Oscar Gonzalez played the first half and had two saves, Albaro Plascencia played the second half and made three saves,” said Silva.
Games in the Ripon Christian Tournament saw the Cougars take the field on Friday for one contest, twice on Saturday. They ended up finishing second, earning runner up honors.
“Friday we opened up against Big Valley Christian,” Silva explained. “We won 12-0; it was 8-0 in the first half.”
Escalon scored early and often, pummeling the Big Valley net. For the game, Alvarez ended up with five goals; Jose Mendez had two, with single tallies from Naul Melendez, Valeriano, Christian Castillo, Daniel Tapia and Nick DeWeerd.
Silva said DeWeerd, a senior, joined the soccer team for this season after not playing last year.
“He’s a good athlete, he knows what he’s doing out there,” Silva said.
Gonzalez had two saves in goal in the opening round game.
Saturday morning, they faced off with Bradshaw Christian and won the game by a 5-1 final.
“Guillermo had two goals and two assists, Jonathan had a goal and an assist, Jose Mendez had a goal and an assist,” Silva said.
Hector Rodriguez added a goal, with three saves from Gonzalez. Escalon jumped out to a 4-1 lead, adding the final goal in the second half.
That put them into the championship game of the tournament, taking on Analy High School out of Sebastopol.
“We ended up losing 1-0,” said Silva. “They scored 15 minutes into the first half.”
Silva said his Cougars had plenty of scoring opportunities and did some good things but also hurt themselves when they got out of their game plan.
Alvarez, who had some tightening of his hamstring in the first game, tried to go against Analy but was unable to play. That had an impact, Silva said, the squad getting a little out of sorts, making bad decisions with the ball and committing several fouls, many that resulted in yellow cards.
“Oscar had six saves,” Silva said.
The Cougars had watched the Analy squad play against Orestimba and knew they were a good team, the coach noted. Escalon just didn’t take advantage of their opportunities.
“The game became very contentious,” admitted Silva. “It was a pretty competitive game but we lost our composure and we just stopped playing soccer.”
The coach added that he was a bit disappointed in the game, noting that it was the first real test for the Cougars and he was hoping for a better approach to a tough opponent.
“We can learn from this and be better from it or dwell on it,” the coach pointed out. “Losing lingers if you let it.”
In spite of losing their composure, the game against Analy was still never out of reach, and Silva said that should be something to build on going forward.
Guillermo Alvarez was the winner of the Golden Ball award for the most goals scored in the tournament, while Hector Alvarez and Daniel Galvan were both named to the All-Tournament Team.
Just one game on the schedule for the JV boys this week and they steamrolled host Calaveras on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The final score was 11-2 in favor of Escalon, with two players – CJ Borrego and Gustavo Hernandez – each getting a hat trick, scoring three goals apiece. Ricky Erazo added two goals, said coach Polo Rodriguez, with single tallies by Emiliano Ramirez and Jose Reyes. One was also an own goal by Calaveras, leading to the 11-2 JV victory.
The Lady Cougar teams had a light week, with just one game on the schedule for both the varsity and the JV squads.
Escalon’s varsity girls took a 1-0 win off the field against Calaveras with Morgan Dominguez scoring the goal. Leticia Gutierrez made three saves in goal.
At the JV level, Calaveras came out on top with a 4-1 win over the young Lady Cougars. Jayda Enes scored the only goal for Escalon.
“Kailey Costa did a great job as our goalie,” added JV coach Jen Schmidt.