After a tough preseason, the Escalon varsity soccer boys split their first two Trans-Valley League games on the pitch.
Head coach Paul Silva said the team went 2-7-1 during the preseason campaign but, despite that lopsided record, he said the team did some good work and faced off with many tough opponents.
“We were competitive in every game,” Silva said. “We had a lot of 1-0 games, 2-1, we faced a lot of bigger schools and one of our best wins was a win against Johansen.”
It has been a struggle for the team to score goals, he admitted, but they are working on improving the offense.
They opened the TVL season with a game against Ripon on Jan. 7, winning that game by a 2-1 final.
Ripon had a 1-0 halftime lead but the Cougars kept up the pressure and scored two unanswered goals in the second half for the victory.
Ricardo Gonzalez scored early in the second half, he chipped the ball up and over the goalie’s head, noticing that the keeper had come out quite a distance from the goal. Matthew Baptista had the assist.
“About 10 minutes later, Gabriel Romero got the goal off an assist from Richard Erazo,” Silva said. “We definitely played a lot better in the second half.”
Goalie Brayan Barrientos made six saves.
Thursday on the home field against Livingston, it was a 2-0 loss for the host Cougars to even their league mark at 1-1.
Livingston got a goal on a penalty kick about 25 minutes in to the game and then scored the second goal with about two minutes left in the contest, off a header on a free kick.
Barrientos had nine saves in the game.
“They are typically one of the strongest programs in the area,” Silva said of Livingston. “We fought to win the ball, we created some chances but we just can’t seem to get the ball in the net.”
Still, said the coach, he was “pretty pleased with the effort” from his team and is certain the goals will start coming.
The JV boys, under coach Polo Rodriguez, had a good week and earned a pair of wins, 4-3 over Ripon and 5-2 over Livingston.