Kicking off their preseason campaign with a 3-3 tie, Escalon’s varsity soccer boys then found the net early and often in a 12-1 victory in their second outing.
Head coach Paul Silva said the squad battled a tough Linden team to the draw on the road on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
“We took the lead three minutes in on a Guillermo Alvarez penalty kick, then we conceded a goal two minutes later,” Silva explained.
Escalon built up a 3-1 lead by halftime, Hector Rodriguez scoring at the 9:00 mark on a volley kick off an assist from Eddy Calderon.
“Now that soccer is in the winter, he came out for the team,” Silva said of the cross country runner who already had a fall sport taking up his time. “He’s a pretty good player.”
Twenty-five minutes in, Alvarez found the net again, this time on a Hector Rodriguez assist.
“Linden scored a couple of minutes in to the second half and then again at the 60-minute mark,” Silva said.
The coach was pleased with the game, though, noting that Linden went to the Section finals last season and is a very good team. He also used the first game to try and get everyone some playing time, looking for where players might best be utilized.
“We have a big team and I wanted to get in as many guys as possible,” Silva explained. “We really controlled the game in the first half.”
As he moved some players around in the second half, there wasn’t as much communication among those on the field, Silva said, but he still was satisfied with the strong showing in the first contest.
“I like how we looked, I liked some of the things we did,” he said.
Luis Mendez started in goal and had five saves in 50 minutes of play; Ismael Gonzalez had three saves in the final 30 minutes.
Wednesday, the team headed to Argonaut and fell behind early, 1-0, before pouring in a dozen unanswered goals to take a 12-1 non-league victory.
On the day, Guillermo Alvarez scored on a penalty kick, Hector Rodriguez had three goals, all in the first half, and an assist. Rodrigo DeMelo – who suited up for football in the fall – had three goals in the second half, Andrew Benitez had two goals and an assist.
“One was on a free kick from 35 yards out, a really nice goal,” explained the coach.
Armando Gonzalez had a goal and two assists, Christian Castillo and Chris Gallo each added a goal as well.
Silva said he pulled some of his more experienced players off the field after the first half hour of play at Argonaut but every Cougar seemed to be in the mood to hit the net.
“Whoever I threw out there, they were just scoring goals,” Silva said. “Argonaut is a big team, we did a good job moving the ball around a lot; I think we tired them out.”
The Cougar JV boys, meanwhile, lost to Linden in their first game and then tied Argonaut.
Action this week was to include a home game Tuesday, Dec. 5 against Calaveras, after The Times went to press. Friday and Saturday tournament play will see the JV boys at the Gregori Tournament, the varsity in the Ripon Christian Tournament.