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Soccer Closes Out Campaign With Senior Day Victory
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In a 'must win' situation, Escalon tied.

And though the varsity girls had a very respectable Trans-Valley League record at 7-2-3 ... that final tie kept them from advancing to the playoffs.

Traveling to Hilmar for the game on May 3, the Lady Cougars got the lead but were unable to hold off a driven Yellowjackets team that was also hungry for postseason play. Hilmar, with the tie, took the third and final playoff spot from the TVL. Hughson, Ripon and Hilmar advanced.

"Hilmar only lost to us but they had a lot of ties," explained Escalon coach Jamie Peoples. "When they needed it, they really turned it up."

Escalon took a 2-0 lead in the Hilmar game, both goals coming from Ally Gonzales, but surrendered one goal before halftime and another in the second half.

"All of the goals, all four of them, were good goals, well-deserved, good passing, good shots," Peoples said. "We had a lot of opportunities, we just didn't finish."

Hilmar, on their home field, was able to dig just a little bit deeper and hang on for the tie.

Assists for Escalon came from Sabrina Luque and Taylor Morrow, with 15 saves in net from freshman keeper Logan LaRossa.

Back on the home field for a final game - Senior Day - on Thursday, May 5, the Lady Cougars took a shut out win from Modesto Christian.

Highlight of the game was the four goals from Gonzales, who set a new school record with 35 goals on the season, surpassing previous record holder Kacey Ball, who went on to play college soccer at MJC and then in Idaho.

Peoples said the game was one where Modesto Christian had just the required number of players, 11, and she thanked the team for coming in undermanned, allowing Escalon to celebrate its Senior Day. All the seniors were captains for the day and most played the bulk of the contest.

"They came with a lot of people that were not their normal starters, they had a play going on that many of their people were involved in so they did us a favor by coming to play," Peoples said of Modesto Christian, noting that the game didn't impact the final league standings. "It was 12-0, it sounds bad, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been ... their goalie did an amazing job, she stopped a lot of hard shots, a lot of one-on-one shots."

Gonzales, who has been tough to defend all year, broke through for four scores, while senior Kara McKee had four goals and four assists. Gabby Gomez had the hat trick and Sierra Duran added a goal, with three assists from Reveca Rangel, two from Taylor Morrow, two from Brianda Meza and one from Haylee Cook.

Normally, Peoples said, she wouldn't have used Gonzales up top in a lopsided win, but said the junior deserved the chance to get the school record.

"She's been our top scorer all year, she really earned that opportunity," Peoples said.

The Modesto Christian offense, which has scored just three goals all season, didn't often challenge the Lady Cougars defense, with LaRossa only having to touch the ball a couple of times.

"We finished fourth in league, 7-2-3 is a really good record, this year it just wasn't good enough," Peoples said.

The team will graduate eight seniors but Peoples is looking forward to the return of some solid juniors who will continue key roles, as well as bringing up sophomores from the TVL champion JV team.

"They had a great season, they won the MC Tournament, we had a great start to our preseason," Peoples said. "The girls had fun together and they did a lot of team bonding."

The JV girls were 8-1-1 overall, clinching the TVL title, their only loss coming in their season finale game on the road at Hilmar. Sage Gabba had the lone goal in that 5-1 decision.