A busy week for the varsity soccer squad saw them play three games over four days. They put all three in the win column, with two home contests and one on the road.
Monday, Dec. 11 the squad pummeled Bret Harte in a 9-1 decision in Escalon, taking a 5-1 lead at the half.
Guillermo Alvarez had four goals on the day, with Daniel Tapia netting two. Armando Gonzalez got the scoring started with a goal in the first minute of the game. Jonathan Valeriano and Jose Mendez added goals as well.
“I brought up three JV players, Bret Harte didn’t have a JV team so I brought them up for the game to get some experience,” head coach Paul Silva explained. “Gustavo Hernandez had two assists, Emiliano Ramirez played really well in the middle, he was at midfield and was very comfortable out there, not intimidated at all and Johnathan Yepez was on defense, he did really well. It was a good experience for them.”
Albaro Plascencia had four saves in goal for the Cougars.
Tuesday it was a road game at Amador and the host squad gave the Cougars as much of a rough ride as they could. Alvarez, the leading scorer in the state in the early going of this soccer season, was in their sights all night.
“It was a very physical game, very contentious,” Silva said.
Escalon prevailed in a 2-0 final but not before Alvarez was taken out by an Amador player who then taunted and pushed him. Alvarez, to his credit, said Silva, did not engage the other player and just walked away.
The Amador player received a red card, as did Escalon’s Nolan Rockwell.
“Nolan took offense to that,” Silva said of the takedown of Alvarez.
Standing up for his teammate, Rockwell shoved the Amador player and both players took a red card, putting the teams into 10 on 10 play early in the first half.
For the game, Alvarez had a goal and an assist, Naul Melendez had a goal and Jose Mendez had an assist.
Escalon, used to possessing the ball the majority of the time, found themselves having to play defense for much of the contest and came away with the shutout.
“We just had to stay defensively sound,” agreed Silva. “We didn’t possess the ball very much but the guys kept their composure. Oscar Gonzalez had a quality game in goal for us with eight saves.”
Back at home to close out the week, Escalon wrapped up their third win with a 3-0 shutout of Summerville.
“Guillermo scored unassisted in the first minute,” Silva said. “He took the ball, got past a couple of guys and did what he does, score.”
The junior has 22 goals so far this season, which ranks him tops in the state.
Tapia had two goals and Mendez had two assists, both goals nearly picture perfect set ups, said Silva.
The varsity boys were a bit shorthanded, several players on the bench nursing injuries and some out of the area for the holidays already.
“We had a lot of guys stepping up and playing positions they were not accustomed to,” Silva said.
Along with those players doing well, Gonzalez had another strong game for the Cougars, making seven saves.
The varsity squad was scheduled to be at Enochs on Monday, Dec. 18 after The Times went to press and host Calaveras on Tuesday. Then they have the winter break to get healthy before starting the Trans-Valley League schedule on the road at Riverbank on Tuesday, Jan. 8.
“The Christmas break is coming at the right time,” the coach said.
Outscoring their opponents by a 17-1 margin over two games this past week, the JV Cougar boys put two more wins on the books.
An explosive offense and a stingy defense has propelled the team to several preseason victories and they won on the road and at home this week.
On Tuesday, Dec. 12 they traveled to Amador and took a 6-0 win off the field.
Leading the way with two goals and one assist was Gustavo Hernandez. Emiliano Ramirez scored on a penalty kick, Rodolfo Galvan scored off a free kick with goals also scored by Gabe Romero and Ricky Erazo.
“Our defense is pretty good,” coach Polo Rodriguez said of the team getting a shutout win.
On Thursday, the squad took a 6-1 lead at the half over visiting Summerville and then added five more goals in the second half for an easy 11-1 win.
“They got one goal on a free kick,” Rodriguez said of the visitors.
Hernandez had four goals in the victory while Jose Reyes added a hat trick, scoring three goals. Willyan Vargas had two goals, Edgar Manzo had one goal and Erazo had one goal and two assists on the afternoon. Ramirez had three assists, Romero added one helper.
Escalon’s varsity soccer girls fell in a pair of 2-0 shutouts this past week. They lost on Monday night to Bret Harte and then fell by the same two-goal margin later in the week to host Summerville.
At the JV level, the squad battled to a 2-2 tie against Bret Harte with goals from Alexis Barron and Jayda Enes. They then lost a 2-0 decision to Summerville.