Up 2-0 at the half, the varsity Escalon Cougars took a 4-1 win off the field at Riverbank to open up the Trans-Valley League campaign.
The game was played Monday, Jan. 8 under some pretty tough conditions, with rain falling for much of the game. Still, the Cougars handled business efficiently, with two goals each from Guillermo Alvarez and Hector Rodriguez.
“They alternated,” head coach Paul Silva said. “Guillermo scored, Hector scored, Guillermo scored and then Hector scored again.”
Getting assists were Jonathan Valeriano and Nolan Rockwell. Oscar Gonzalez had six saves in goal.
“It was a pretty straightforward game,” added Silva. “It was the first time we’ve played or practiced in the rain this season … we couldn’t possess the ball as much as we usually do but we adjusted to the conditions and in the second half we played pretty well.”
Coming home to host Ripon on Wednesday, Jan. 10, the Cougars easily outdistanced the visiting Indians, shutting them out by a 6-0 final. They built up a 4-0 halftime lead on the way to the win.
Alvarez again was in the thick of things, scoring three goals and dishing out three assists. Rodriguez had a goal and an assist, Daniel Tapia added an assist. Armando Gonzalez scored two goals on the afternoon and Oscar Gonzalez had five saves in goal.
“I was very happy for Armando, he has been playing a lot of defense for me but he really is more of a winger so I was glad he had a chance to score,” Silva noted. “Armando was pretty happy.”
Silva said the field was also in much better condition than he thought it would be, given the amount of rain earlier in the week. But there wasn’t too much standing water and though there were some muddy spots, the teams were able to move the ball up and down the field.
Like their older counterparts, the JV Cougars put two games in the win column this week.
They started out on the road at Riverbank and persevered in a 7-3 final.
“We took two goals against us back to back,” coach Polo Rodriguez said of giving up the scores in the wet field. “They kind of skidded on the water.”
The goals didn’t hamper Escalon, however, as they found the net early and often against the Bruins and battled through the conditions to take the victory.
“Gustavo Hernandez had five goals and Ricky Erazo had two,” Rodriguez added. “It was really rainy but the team was able to hold themselves up pretty well during the game.”
On Wednesday, the boys were home to host Ripon. They again had the scoring touch and put away the Indians in a 5-1 final. Netting the hat trick, C.J. Borrego had three goals to lead the team, with one each from Joshua Corrales and Gabriel Romero. Netminder Clay Evans had four saves for the JV Cougars in the win.
This is a busy week for Cougar soccer including a game at Modesto Christian (varsity only) on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 3:30 p.m. and both teams hosting Hughson in a Friday contest, Jan. 19 at 3:30 p.m. The squads started out the week with a game at Mountain House on Monday, Jan. 15 after The Times went to press.