Two wins and a tie kept Escalon’s varsity soccer boys at the top of the Trans-Valley League standings, the Cougars keeping up a hectic pace with three contests this week.
They traveled to Riverbank for their first game, Monday, Jan. 30 and came away with a 5-1 win.
“There was a big crowd there, it was a good environment,” said coach Paul Silva. “It was a rivalry game, played with a lot of intensity.”
Escalon was up 3-0 at the half, Riverbank scored early in the second to trim the lead to 3-1 but the Cougars did not let them get any closer and added two late tallies of their own.
“The first half we played really well,” explained Silva. “We created a lot of opportunities with our passing.”
Leading the way was Guillermo Alvarez, who scored a couple of goals for the Cougars.
Wednesday, Feb. 1 the Cougars were back at home and hosted Ripon. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.
“I think we were too complacent,” Silva said. “Our movement off the ball wasn’t what we’re accustomed to and I was disappointed in the overall effort.”
Tied 2-2 at the half, Silva said he felt the team had a chance to take control of the game when they scored in the second to take a 3-2 lead.
“If anything, our intensity level dropped,” the coach said after a score off the foot of Alvarez put the Cougars ahead.
Ripon continued to battle and tied the game late, walking off with the tie.
“Thursday we were at home against Mountain House and we won 3-2, our intensity and our play improved dramatically from Wednesday,” Silva said. “Mountain House scored to go up 1-0, we tied it but then we were down 2-1 at the half.”
Uncharacteristically having trouble finishing early on, the Cougars battled back to find their rhythm and scored a pair of goals in the second half. Andrew Benitez tallied two goals for Escalon in the win.
The boys were scheduled to play at Modesto Christian on Monday, Feb. 6 after The Times went to press, then will host Hughson on Feb. 8. They will be at Hilmar on Monday, Feb. 13 to close out the regular season.
Falling by a 1-0 decision at Riverbank to start the week’s action on Monday, Jan. 30, the Escalon JV soccer boys regrouped and topped Ripon at home, then got a forfeit win against Mountain House.
Standout in the game at Riverbank was goalie Clay Adams, who had three strong saves, including two on penalty kicks, keeping his team in the game. But the offense stalled and could not get one in the net.
“Wednesday we hosted Ripon and we scored three first half goals,” coach Polo Rodriguez.
Gustavo Hernandez put in all three goals for the JV team, with one assist from Ricky Erazo and two from Jose Mendes. Ripon put one goal in the net in the second half but that was as close as they got, with the Escalon team taking the 3-1 win.
Goalie Adams had four saves.
“Thursday was Mountain House but they didn’t have enough players, they forfeited,” said Rodriguez.
The JV boys will be in action next on the home field, hosting Hughson on Feb. 8.