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Solid Team Play Lifts Soccer Girls To Twin Wins
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Excitement is building, but the Lady Cougars are trying to keep it under control.

The varsity soccer girls have been playing solidly of late, adding two more wins to their total this week. Improving to 7-1-1, the girls are working hard to keep the dream of making the playoffs within reach.

"If we keep playing like we are right now, we have a good chance," said coach Craig Humrichouse. "They're focused, game to game, they are taking it one game at a time."

That strategy worked this week, as the girls shut out Ripon Christian on the road Tuesday, 6-0, then went to Riverbank and took a 4-0 victory there on Thursday.

"Against Ripon Christian, it was a match that we totally dominated, we played very well and outshot them, 23-1," Humrichouse pointed out. "We had 12 corner kicks."

Escalon had just a one goal lead at halftime, Megan Brown scoring about 30 minutes into the contest, sending the ball over the top of the goalie on a strong shot from about 35 yards out.

"In the first half, Ripon Christian played quite well, they played about as good as they can play," Humrichouse said of the early going.

Second half action saw the Lady Cougars pour it on, scoring five unanswered goals.

"It was a real windy day but in the second half, we started to break them down, we settled the ball well and made better passes," explained Humrichouse.

Paige Fulgieri scored the second goal of the day for Escalon, with Kristine Lima getting the assist.

"It was a beautiful cross pass from Kristine to Paige," Humrichouse said. "It's something we had been working on and the things they are working on in practice, they're starting to do in the games."

Kaity Bojorquez scored unassisted to make it a 3-0 game, driving down the center and finishing the job herself. Fulgieri then scored off an assist from Ashley Brown.

"Even though Ashley is our center fullback, she is one of our team leaders in assists," Humrichouse said of the versatile player.

Kacey Ball scored goal number five, with the assist from Fulgieri and Bojorquez capped off the scoring with another unassisted goal.

"We're finally getting her to take some shots," said the coach.

Goalie Sarah Quiroz made one save, stopping the only shot that the Ripon Christian squad got off.

In Riverbank on Thursday, the girls were again clicking, controlling the tempo of the game and pummeling the Riverbank goalie with shot after shot. They had 26 shots to Riverbank's one on the afternoon. Goalie Quiroz had one save.

The Lady Cougar defense was effective in stopping the Riverbank rushes, poking the ball away and getting it back to the Escalon forwards.

"The whole game was played that way," agreed Humrichouse. "Aprille Ray is playing great for us at sweeper, she's the one that is cutting the ball off, stopping the breakaways."

Offensively, Fulgieri started the scoring, with Jacki Garside credited with the assist. Bojorquez converted on a penalty kick, Ball getting the assist because she was the player taken down inside the penalty box. Ball then scored a goal, Bojorquez got the assist. That gave the Lady Cougars a 3-0 lead at the half and they scored one final goal early in the second half, Ball converting, taking the ball in deep and sending it past the goalie.

Now 11-4-2 overall, the girls improved to a solid 7-1-1 mark in league play with the wins, a game and a half behind Hilmar in the standings. They were scheduled to play at home against Hilmar on Tuesday, April 26, after The Times went to press and will host Patterson on Thursday, April 28 at 4 p.m.

In JV action for the week, the girls went to Livingston for a single game on April 21 and ended in a hard-fought 1-1 tie.

"We played well, dominated, and had a lot of shots," said coach Jamie Humrichouse. "We scored a goal early in the first half, Emily Miguel scored and Ashleigh Weeda had the assist."

The JV girls kept the pressure on, sending off another 20 or so shots on the day, said the coach, but were not able to get any more past the Livingston goalie.

"They had a breakaway with about five minutes left in the game and scored, we just couldn't get another one in the net so we had a 1-1 tie," she said.

Kayla Ryan had two saves in goal for the JV girls.