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Soccer Squads Battle Opponents, Wild Weather
Varsity player Morgan Dominguez, 13, battles in out against her Mountain House opponent during Wednesday afternoon action in Escalon, the squads playing in wet, muddy conditions and Mountain House getting a 2-1 win. Marg Jackson/The Times

In a game where the players often continued up the field without the ball – stuck spinning in a mud puddle in the center of the pitch – the varsity Escalon Lady Cougars lost a tough 2-1 home contest to visiting Mountain House on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

“That’s going to be the one that comes back to haunt us,” said head coach Jamie Peoples, noting it is a game the host squad should have gotten, but let slip away. Hopefully, she said, it doesn’t make the difference in making or not making the postseason, but only time will tell.

The girls started the week off at home, hosting Ripon and taking a shutout loss, 5-0.

“We played them tough in the first half, it was 0-0,” Peoples said. “Then they scored on us early in the second half and we fell apart.”

Keeper Leticia Gutierrez made seven saves in goal for Escalon.

“This game was kind of the story of our season,” admitted Peoples. “We had so many opportunities to score the entire game.”

Escalon did not capitalize, while Ripon finished all their opportunities, accounting for the difference in the final score.

Looking to bounce back in the home contest Wednesday against Mountain House, the playing conditions were deplorable, with both teams having to navigate around mud puddles, mushy bogs and try to keep their footing while also still trying to maintain possession of the ball.

A first half goal by Angelica Fernandez, with the assist by Morgan Dominguez, put the host Lady Cougars on top. It wasn’t until a penalty shot just slipped past Gutierrez in the second half that the visiting Lady Mustangs got on the board. They were then able to cash in another chance with about eight minutes left in the contest to take a 2-1 lead.

“I felt it was offside but it didn’t get called,” admitted Peoples of the play that put the visitors in the lead.

Nevertheless, she said her team found themselves on their heels for too much of the contest.

“We were playing defense the whole entire time,” she said, noting that the girls need to find more aggressiveness in their game to get back on a winning track.

They are scheduled to host Hughson today, Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 3:30 p.m.

Peoples said it’s likely the varsity will move to the JV field for the contest, which has better drainage and is in better shape than the varsity field. The girls will then head to Hilmar for a Monday, Jan. 23 contest.



A high-scoring Ripon team came to town on Jan. 9 and upended the JV Lady Cougars, 8-1. But the girls bounced back nicely, earning a 2-1 victory over Mountain House in Wednesday afternoon action, Jan. 11.

“Hailie Webster scored both of our goals, with an assist from Monserrat Rodriguez and an assist from Esmeralda Soto,” said coach Jen Schmidt.

Like their varsity counterparts, the JV girls are scheduled to host Hughson today, Jan. 18 and go to Hilmar on Monday.



Road games for the varsity Cougar boys both went in the win column this past week. They took down Ripon 7-2 on Jan. 9 and followed that up with a 7-1 win at Mountain House on Wednesday, playing under the lights on a turf field.

At Ripon, the Cougars had a 3-1 halftime lead and pumped in four more second half goals.

“Ripon scored a couple of minutes into the game,” explained head coach Paul Silva. “It was a miscue by our goalie, gave them the lead.”

The Cougar offense, though, was more than up to the task at hand, tying the game at the 15-minute mark on a goal from Chris Gallo, assisted by Guillermo Alvarez.

“At the 25-minute mark, Hector Rodriguez had an unassisted goal and five minutes later, Guillermo Alvarez got a goal with an assist from Andrew Benitez,” Silva said.

Midway through the second half, Alvarez scored on a breakaway to make it 4-1, with Ripon getting the next goal to cut the lead to 4-2. From there, though, it was all Escalon as Benitez scored with an assist from Alvarez 23 minutes in to the second half. With less than 10 minutes to go in the game, Rodriguez netted another with an assist from Armando Gonzalez and a minute later, it was Erik Paez notching the final goal, Gonzalez getting his second straight assist.

Goalkeeper Ismael Gonzalez had five saves in 60 minutes of work; Luis Mendez added two saves in the final 20 minutes of the contest.

In Wednesday action at Mountain House on Jan. 11, Silva said they got to play on the turf field, though it didn’t play as fast as anticipated.

“It seemed to be a little higher turf, it played a lot more like grass,” said Silva.

Conditions were no problem for the Cougars, as they rolled over the host Mustangs by a 7-1 final.

Chris Gallo got the rout started when he took the ball from a Mountain House defender in the opening minute and blasted it past the goalie for an unassisted score. Guillermo Alvarez then scored with Gallo getting the assist, followed by four more first half tallies. Alvarez scored with an assist from Andrew Benitez, Hector Rodriguez scored with an assist from Alvarez, Denis Pineda scored unassisted, then Benitez got the final goal of the first half with an assist from Alvarez to make it 6-0.

Mountain House scored about six minutes in to the second half to make it 6-1 but Benitez answered at the 70-minute mark for the 7-1 final.

Mendez had four saves in goal in about 50 minutes of work; Gonzalez also notched a few saves in 30 minutes of work.

“The first half was the best we’ve played all year,” Silva said of the opening 40 minutes at Mountain House. “We were able to control our passes.”

Escalon is scheduled to play at Hughson today, Wednesday, Jan. 18.



Improving to 2-1 in Trans-Valley League play with a pair of wins this week, the Escalon JV soccer boys outscored their opponents 17-6 in the two contests.

“We won 7-4 at Ripon,” said coach Polo Rodriguez. “Gustavo Hernandez had three goals and one assist, Jose Mendez had three goals, Miguel Calderon had one goal.”

Adding assists on the day were Jonathan Yepez, Rocky Erazo and Emiliano Ramirez, each with one helper.

Back on the road for the Jan. 11 game at Mountain House, the JV squad got an eight-goal performance from Jose Mendez as they crushed the Mustangs, 10-2.

Gustavo Hernandez added the other two goals while also providing three assists to Mendez. Ramirez, Ryan Alpizar and Moises Grajeda each had one goal in the victory.