A come from behind win and a hard fought tie added up to a successful week for the varsity Cougars on the soccer field.
The boys were on the road at Ripon for Trans-Valley League play on Jan. 28 and fell behind at the half, 1-0.
“We had some chances,” head coach Paul Silva said, adding that they just couldn’t put one in the net in the first 40 minutes.
In the second half, the boys scored three unanswered goals to defeat the Indians, 3-1.
Matthew Baptista scored on a header, sending the ball past the keeper after heading it off a free kick by Rodolfo Galvan.
“That was just a really nice goal,” said Silva.
Alexiz Rodriguez got the go ahead score, converting on a penalty kick for the Cougars and CJ Borrego sealed the win on a breakaway with about five minutes left in the game. Brayan Barrientos had seven saves in goal.
“Wednesday at Livingston, it was a 2-2 final and that was the first dropped point for Livingston (in TVL play) this season,” Silva explained, with the Cougars earning the draw against the league leaders.
The game started off rocky, as the host Wolves scored in the first 30 seconds to take the 1-0 lead.
About 30 minutes into the half, Escalon pulled even with a goal from Baptista, assisted by Borrego.
“It was a momentum shifter, that goal right before halftime,” Silva said, with the Cougars entering the second half with some confidence.
The second goal for the varsity came on a “nice give and go, a nice set up” between Moises Grajeda and Rodriguez, with Grajeda notching the score and Rodriguez the assist. But the Wolves tied it up and the teams had to settle for the draw.
“They were pretty sore from Tuesday so we subbed a lot and got almost everyone in,” Silva added of having to juggle his line-up a bit to compensate for back-to-back games.
After the Wolves tied the game, Silva said goalkeeper Barrientos went above and beyond to preserve the tie.
“The last five minutes, he just made save after save, he was on fire and just stood on his head,” the coach said, with Barrientos making nine saves for the contest.
The tie helps keep Escalon in the running for a playoff spot.
“It was a great bus ride home,” Silva said of the team pumped up with the effort against Livingston.
This week, they were scheduled to be at Hughson on Tuesday, after The Times went to press, and host Hilmar on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 3:30 p.m.
On the road for a game at Livingston on Jan. 29, the young Cougars found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 final.
“They had a couple of new players and they moved well, the team seemed to work pretty well around them,” said coach Polo Rodriguez. “Vicente Gonzalez got hurt early in the game and that basically took away our left wing.”
That loss was hard to come back from, Rodriguez said, and though the JV boys fought hard, they were unable to get anything past the Livingston keeper. Aldo Yepiz made five saves in goal for the JV boys.
This week, they are scheduled to host Hilmar in a Thursday afternoon contest, a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on Feb. 6.
Escalon’s varsity girls suffered a 3-0 loss to Ripon this past week and also got a shutout win over Livingston, 1-0.
“We played very well and created a lot of chances but we just couldn’t finish,” head coach Jamie Peoples said of falling to Ripon.
Against Livingston, Mya Beary scored the goal with an assist from Gabby Goodman.
“Emma Bracco had a huge week for us and has been making incredible saves to help build our momentum,” Peoples noted of her keeper.
The Lady Cougars were to host Hughson in a Senior Night home finale on Tuesday, Feb. 4 after The Times went to press. Seniors are Natalie Cortes, Gabby Goodman, Mya Beary, Brianna Cerceda, Alex Titsworth, Alejandra Garcia Jimenez, Ivanna Dela Torre, Daryn Evans and Monserrat Rodriguez. They go on the road to play at Hilmar on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Escalon’s JV girls forged a 1-1 tie with Livingston and lost to Ripon in their games this week.