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Soccer Struggles, Tennis Splits, Golf Boys Card Wins
Cougar keeper Brayan Barrientos is shown in earlier season action on the home pitch, clearing out a ball after a save. He was in nets for the Cougars this week and played well, but the varsity boys fell short in a couple of league games. Marg Jackson/The Times

Some of the Season Two sports, such as girls tennis, have completed their season, while others like boys soccer and boys golf continue with a few games scheduled. Here is a wrap of recent competition for a few of the Cougar squads. Look for additional sports information in the June 2 issue of The Times, including a wrap for Cougar track and field events.



Two road games this week both were losses for the Escalon varsity soccer boys. They were at Weston Ranch on May 18 and traveled to Kimball for a league match on Thursday, May 20.

Against the Cougars of Weston Ranch, the Escalon Cougars were tied 1-1 at the half, but the host Weston Ranch squad tallied five unanswered goals in the second half.

“We scored first, about 11 minutes into the game,” said head coach Paul Silva.

Alejandro Rodriguez was able to get the ball away as it was mishandled by the goalie, then found the back of the net.

“It was a pretty nice goal,” added Silva.

Weston Ranch tied it up with about 10 minutes to play in the first half. In the second half, Silva said the host team took advantage of “too much open space” that his Cougars gave up, scoring five times to take a 6-1 win.

“Brayan Barrientos was in goal and he had at least 12 saves,” Silva explained. “He kept the score reasonable and did a tremendous job.”

On the road to face Kimball on Thursday, the host team scored one goal in the first to lead it 1-0, then went up 2-0 in the opening minutes of the season half. Escalon cut the lead in half at the 59-minute mark, Brandon Granda getting the goal off an assist from Rey Torrez.

“It was another scrappy play; Rey pressured the defender, was able to steal it and then slotted it across and Brandon put it in,” Silva said. “Brandon had played defense all year but I pushed him up; he has a lot of speed and he was able to use that to his advantage.”

Two minutes later, Kimball scored to make it 3-1 and, two minutes after that, CJ Borrego converted on a penalty kick for Escalon to make it 3-2.

They couldn’t put in the tying goal, taking the loss. Barrientos had eight saves in goal.

A busy final week for the Cougars was to include a home game Tuesday, May 25 against Sierra, after The Times went to press, followed by a game at Oakdale on May 26 and the season finale against Riverbank at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 28.



The Lady Cougars split their final two matches of the season, falling to Manteca and then defeating East Union.

Lily McCracken, in girls singles, picked up the only win of the day for Escalon against Manteca, as Escalon went down to a 6-1 defeat.

Finishing up the season, the tennis girls enjoyed a sweep of East Union, winning by a 7-0 final. In singles play, winners were Madi Faria, 7-5, 6-1; Isabella Nalbandian, 6-0, 6-1; Rylie Lattig, 6-1, 6-3; and Sophia Martin, 6-2, 6-0. Nalbandian came back and played another singles match, winning two on the afternoon.

Doubles winners were Ella Adams and Makayla Wentzell, 6-1, 6-2; with Laura Thompson and Faith Reyes teaming up for a 6-2, 6-1 victory.

“It was bittersweet for our seniors but ending with a win was a perfect wrap up of the season,” head coach Jackey Blakeley said of the May 19 season finale.

“So thankful and blessed to have been a part of these players’ lives during this time in history.”



Two more victories went on the books for the Escalon golfers this week, the boys defeating Central Catholic and Weston Ranch.

On Monday, May 17 Escalon was on the road against Central Catholic at River Oaks, a par 31 course. The Cougars were able get ahead early in all matches with Timothy McNeil leading the team with a steady four over par 35 followed by Bryce McKenzie 37, Jacob Dugo 41, Kaden Schrotenboer 42, Ben Millard 44 and, playing in his first varsity match, Zach Smallwood came in with a 60. The Cougars won the match by a final of 199 to 253.

Wednesday, May 19 the Cougars hosted a match at its local Escalon golf course, a par 31, taking on Weston Ranch. The Weston Ranch team was unable to field a team of five resulting in a forfeit; however, the teams played a match. The Cougars were able to maneuver through the high winds paced by McKenzie’s one over par 32, McNeil 34, Schrotenboer 36, Dugo 38, Millard 40 and Smallwood 43.

The Cougars have an impressive nine wins with three losses entering the last week of the season.