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Six Goals Lift Booters To Non-League Win
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Finally, it all came together.

Escalon's varsity soccer team pounded the goal in Thursday's match with Calaveras, upending the visitors by a 6-1 verdict.

"I've been waiting for this game all year," said coach Chris Oliveira.

After a season-long scoring slump, the Cougars broke through with three first-half goals and added three more in the second to take the non-league win.

Ricardo Paez put all three goals in the net in the first half, though the Calaveras goalie also made several saves and the Cougars had plenty of chances. Assists on the first half goals came from Saul Plascencia, Tony Azevedo and Brian Beeman.

"I thought the goalie did a good job," agreed Oliveira.

The coach said it was also important for his team to keep the pressure on once they took the lead.

"The fifth goal is not as hard as the first to score," he pointed out. "We need to put teams away and hopefully we can move forward from here."

Juan Gutierrez got a goal in the second half with an assist from Derek Castro, Beeman added the second with an assist from Plascencia and it was Plascencia scoring the final goal of the day for Escalon, unassisted.

Calaveras didn't get any shots past freshman keeper Julio Farias but did score late when Farias had to be pulled with a hand injury. Gui Carneiro came in and the Calaveras team took advantage of the switch, getting one goal in the net.

Oliveira said the team came out strong on Thursday, though maybe a little overanxious, rushing ahead of the play and called offside several times on potential scoring runs.

"We've been getting pressure and shots for a while," noted Oliveira. "The difference is we started making them."

Paez earned praise for his efforts in leading the team, taking on the role of field general for the squad.

While happy with the win, Oliveira said there are still some changes his team needs to make to stay competitive in league. Some of those adjustments they made between the Thursday win and a Tuesday loss at Linden. They fell to the Lions in that non-league contest, 3-2.

"We played our worst game and our best game of the year this week," Oliveira said. "Things came to a head in a positive way and they had good intensity on Thursday."

On Tuesday, a goal late in the game sealed the win for the host Linden team. Escalon got goals from Plascencia and Sergio Torres. Farias made nine saves.

"I knew Wednesday (after practice) that we were going to win Thursday," Oliveira said of the feeling he got from the team this week.

Now with the Cougars realizing they can put the ball in the net, the coach is looking for more solid efforts and more wins.

"That's what we're hoping," he said.

The Cougars host Riverbank in a Thursday match, Sept. 30.