A satisfying end to a busy week of soccer saw Escalon’s varsity Cougars bring home the championship from the Ripon Christian Tournament.
The one-day tournament on Saturday, Sept. 12 saw the Cougar boys win three straight contests. They started off with a 3-2 win against Orestimba, Cougar scores coming on a Jairo Duran penalty kick, and two goals by Chris Gallo, assists by Guillermo Alvarez and Rafael Lomeli. Escalon was up 3-1 and Orestimba scored late, but the Cougars held them at bay the last 15 minutes, not allowing them to get the equalizer.
Goalie Ismael Gonzalez had six saves.
Next up on Saturday, the Cougars worked their way to a 4-1 win against Bradshaw Christian.
“In the first half we scored right away,” explained coach Paul Silva. “Chris Gallo had the goal, Damien Parocua had the assist.”
Leading 1-0 at the half, the cougars made it 2-0 just a minute into the second half on a Fabricio Gallo goal, assisted by Chris Gallo.
A Bradshaw Christian score trimmed the lead to 2-1 but the Cougars then put in two unanswered tallies, including a Carlos Cruz goal with an assist from Fabricio Gallo, and ended the game with the 4-1 victory. Gonzalez had three saves.
“In the final against Gustine, we won it in a penalty kick shootout,” Silva said of an exciting finale to the Saturday competition.
Gustine took an early lead in the first half, Escalon came back with an early second half goal from Guillermo Alvarez.
“In the second half, they really got after it,” Silva said of his players. “We had lots of opportunities to win in regulation.”
But none of those opportunities panned out, so the teams went to the double overtime periods, five minutes each, with no one scoring, setting up the shootout.
“In the first four rounds, we made it, they made it,” Silva said. “Then Gustine missed and Antonio Larios scored for us.”
Gonzalez had five saves in the game, including the stop in the shootout that helped Escalon – with the goal from Larios – take the win.
“The kids were super excited,” Silva said. “And with three games in one day, I was happy we made it through without any injuries.
“Overall, our level of play we pretty consistent throughout the tournament.”
Earlier action during the week saw Escalon traveling to Bret Harte for a Tuesday, Sept. 8 game and they were at Manteca on Thursday, Sept. 10.
“Tuesday we lost 3-2 but we actually played really well,” Silva said of making the trip to Angels Camp. “We just had a couple of mistakes.”
Scoring for Escalon in the loss were Guillermo Alvarez and Carlos Cruz, with Mario Rosales and Alvarez notching the assists.
“We created so many opportunities,” Silva added. “We had great chances, we just couldn’t finish.”
Gonzalez had six saves in goal.
Thursday, it was a scoring drought for the Cougars as Manteca roughed them up, 4-0.
“It was 3-0 at half and we conceded the fourth goal late in the second half,” Silva said. “We started out the game moving the ball well but then Manteca started dictating the flow of the game.”
Alvarez had seven saves and Fabricio Gallo also saw some time in goal, notching three saves in about 20 minutes of play.
Escalon opens up its Trans-Valley League schedule on the road Thursday, Sept. 17, traveling to Riverbank.
The JV boys fell behind Bret Harte, 3-0, on Tuesday before battling back with three goals in the second half to forge a 3-3 tie. They then lost a 3-1 decision on the road at Manteca, Nolan Rockwell notching the only JV goal on a blast from 40 yards out.
Weekend play saw the JV squad in the Gregori Tournament, losing to Modesto High 4-0 but blasting past Riverbank 5-1 on Friday. In action on Saturday, the squad lost a 3-0 decision to Central Valley.