With a senior starting at every position, the Escalon varsity Cougars put a 3-1 win on the books in soccer action against Hughson this past week.
The final regular season game on the home field was Tuesday, Jan. 29.
“We made sure all the seniors played,” explained head coach Paul Silva, noting that a dozen seniors are on the varsity roster.
Hughson got on the board first, scoring about 25 minutes in to the contest.
“We were down 1-0 at the half but about 10 minutes in to the second half, Alexis Rodriguez scored the goal to tie, Guillermo Alvarez had the assist.”
The teams stayed tied for much of the second half, with Gabe Romero putting the Cougars in the lead with a goal with about eight minutes remaining in the contest. Alvarez had his second assist of the day, recording the helper.
“With about one minute left, Alexis Rodriguez got his second goal of the day,” Silva said. “Guillermo had the assist so he set up all three goals.”
Bryan Barrientos played 60 minutes in goal, making four saves. Oscar Gonzalez came in to play the final 20 minutes, recording two saves.
“Thursday at Hilmar, we played to a 1-1 draw,” said Silva. “About 25 minutes in, Guillermo scored a goal, it was unassisted; he just took on a couple of guys, got around some people.”
Hilmar got the equalizer in the opening minute of the second half and neither team could get another shot to go into the net, settling for the tie.
“We had a couple of injuries, a couple of guys out sick against Hilmar,” noted Silva. “We played disciplined, played really well, it was just a total team effort.”
Gonzalez had four saves, playing 50 minutes in goal, with Barrientos credited with three saves in his 30 minutes of work.
“He had a couple of amazing saves, he is very talented,” Silva said of the young keeper.
Also getting high marks was Jonathan Yepiz, who did a tremendous job filling in at the center mid position, moving from his normal defensive spot.
“I’m very proud of the effort,” Silva said.
Escalon had its bye on Tuesday and will be on the road Thursday, Feb. 7 at Riverbank.
Heading in to the week, Escalon had a 4-point lead on Riverbank in the standings. Hilmar and Riverbank were scheduled to play Tuesday; a Riverbank loss would clinch a playoff spot for Escalon. If Riverbank defeated Hilmar, the Cougars need to at least tie Riverbank in their Thursday game to get to the postseason.
The JV Cougars, meanwhile, beat Hughson in their first contest of the week, with a pair of goals from Eli Lattig and several other players getting one goal apiece. Lattig added another goal on Thursday, though that game was a 4-1 loss to Hilmar for the JV boys.