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Varisty Soccer Squad Sees Busy Preseason Campaign
Escalons Mykayla Spurgeon, at right in white, finds her path to the ball blocked by a Calaveras defender in Thursday afternoon action in Escalon. The Lady Cougars were 3-2 winners. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

In what has been a flurry of activity already, the Escalon varsity soccer team has put some wins, losses and ties on the books.

They kicked off the season with a 1-1 tie in a scrimmage against Linden, with Alana Kualapai notching the goal and Leslie Garcia getting the assist.

Friday, Feb. 22 the girls earned a 2-0 win against Argonaut, with goals from Kualapai and Jaylyne Serpa, assists from Garcia and Araceli Gallo.

Leah Martinez had five saves in goal, Logan LaRossa had four as the two split time in the net.

A Tuesday, Feb. 26 night game on the turf field at Bret Harte was a 0-0 tie for the squad.

“We had a good second half,” coach Jamie Peoples said of the Bret Harte game, though the team wasn’t able to punch a score in for the win. “Our goalie in that game, Leah, had seven saves, with a couple of really nice ones.”

On Thursday, Feb. 28, the girls hosted Calaveras and battled to a 3-2 victory.

“Leah had an outstanding game, she had 10 saves including one on a penalty kick,” Peoples said. “She also had a good save on a corner kick and she played really aggressively.”

Calaveras took a 1-0 lead, Escalon tied it up and the teams were knotted at the half, 1-1. Escalon struck first in the second half, Calaveras tied it up and the host Lady Cougars got the winner with about five minutes to go in the game.

Kualapai also had a great game, with two goals and one assist. Yarissa Cruz had the other goal and Garcia added an assist.

Then it was off to the Amador Tournament with a 1-1 tie in regulation against Calaveras to start the tourney on Friday, March 1. Kualapai had the goal during regulation. The teams played two 10 minute overtime periods with no score so it went to penalty kicks, where Calaveras prevailed with a 3-2 edge. Araceli Gallo and Carlee Vest put in the PKs for Escalon. LaRossa had eight saves in net.

Friday night, that put the girl against Argonaut and they took a 1-0 win with the goal from Serpa, the assist by Jackie Valeriano. LaRossa was in goal for the first half, Martinez for the second with Martinez notching two saves.

“Haylee Cook had a great game on defense for us,” Peoples said.

On Saturday, the girls were in action against Amador and bowed out of the tourney with a 2-0 loss.

“Leah had 14 saves, another amazing game,” Peoples said, noting that keeping Amador to just two goals on the day was an accomplishment.

This week, the girls were scheduled to wrap up preseason with a home game hosting Amador on Tuesday and then will be on the road for a Friday, March 8 game at Riverbank to start the Trans-Valley League schedule.

“Hilmar is always tough,” Peoples said of the league outlook. “They are well coached, fast with the ball, Hughson and Ripon should be good also.”

Escalon has five seniors on the roster, with nine juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.

Nickey Homen, a senior, played her freshman and sophomore years, then took her junior year off but is back this season. Returning seniors are Carlee Vest, Araceli Gallo, Sage Gabba and Leah Martinez.

Juniors include Mykayla Spurgeon, Yarissa Cruz, Haylee Cook, Alana Kualapai, Natalia Hernandez, Leslie Garcia, Katie Spears, Cassie Murken and Logan LaRossa, with Cook, Kualapai, Garcia and LaRossa all getting playing time at the varsity level last year.

The three sophomores, Jackie Valeriano, Piper Rockwell and Jaylyne Serpa, all have varsity experience and the two freshmen, Vanessa Kualapai and Skilar Cook, both have older sisters on the team.

New to the coaching staff this season is Nichole Meyer, who will lead the JV girls. She played travel soccer for the Manteca Rangers competitive program and attended Central Catholic High School.