Capping off a busy week with a tournament title, Escalon’s varsity soccer boys were champions of the Ripon Christian Tournament, bringing home the top trophy.
They started out the week with a 7-1 win against Calaveras on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
“We were up at halftime, 4-1,” said coach Paul Silva.
Guillermo Alvarez had three goals and two assists in the game, Chris Gallo had two goals and Hector Rodriguez and Eddy Calderon each had a goal.
Andrew Benitez and Jonathan Valeriano had assists and Luis Mendez had five saves in goal.
Tournament play for the varsity Cougars began on Friday, as they faced off with Bradshaw Christian on Friday night, Dec. 9 and shut them out, 5-0.
“Five different goal scorers for us,” Silva said of spreading out the offense.
Alvarez had a goal and an assist, Gallo had a goal and two assists. Rodriguez, Valeriano and Armando Gonzalez each notched a goal and Erik Paez had one assist. Escalon had just a 1-0 lead at the half but turned it up a notch in the second half. Mendez had two saves in one half of work, Ismael Gonzalez also had two saves.
“This entire tournament, I split my goalies,” Silva said of getting them both plenty of work in the nets.
Saturday, with rain falling, the Cougars played two games and won them both.
Silva said the team was determined and played good soccer early, setting the tone for the tournament with the win over Bradshaw Christian.
“We wanted to have a successful tournament,” the coach said. “We won it last year and we wanted to win it again.”
On Saturday, they opened up with a 2-1 win over Analy, a hard fought game.
“They were very skilled and had a lot of size on their team,” explained Silva.
Juan Albor got the Cougars on the board four minutes in, sending the goal in on a header off a corner kick from Gallo. A minute later, Analy tied it up on a penalty kick.
“It was 1-1 at the half and with about 10 minutes left in the game, Armando Gonzalez scored for us, assisted by Hector Rodriguez, on a really nice goal,” Silva said.
Each goalie was credited with four saves in their of half of work and the Cougars held on for the victory.
“It was good for them to play a team that could really test them,” noted Silva. “I’m proud of how they came together and fought, came through with the victory, it was a nice early season test for us.”
In the tournament finale, the Cougars played Trans-Valley League rival Ripon, ultimately taking a 3-1 win off the field to repeat as tournament champs.
It was 1-0 at the half on a Hector Rodriguez goal, assisted by Alvarez. Second half scoring saw Benitez get a goal on an assist from Albor at the 10-minute mark, then Hector Rodriguez scored a minute later.
“He just took the ball away from the defender, went in and scored,” Silva said. “He’s been doing really well, he has eight goals so far for the season.”
The entire front line has been producing well for the Cougars, while the netminders have also been solid, Mendez with three saves in the win and Gonzalez with two.
The Cougars were excited with the tournament title, said Silva, proud to repeat as champions.
For the junior varsity team, they blasted Calaveras 13-2 in the home game early in the week, then played at the Gregori Tournament, topping Atwater 4-2, beating Grace Davis and Johansen by 3-2 scores before falling to Gregori, 3-0, in the championship game and settling for second place honors.
The teams will be home to host Amador today, Dec. 14 and then play at Calaveras on Tuesday, Dec. 20.