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Take MC Tournament Title Successful Start To Season For Varsity Soccer Squad
In a busy first week of the season, Escalon's varsity soccer girls pounded the nets and took first place honors in the new Modesto Christian Tournament.

They were on the road for their first game, at Bret Harte on Monday, Feb. 28 and battled to a 1-1 tie. Gabby Gomez had the goal, unassisted, and goalie Taylor LaRossa had six saves.

"We played on their turf field and it was a good first game," said coach Jamie Peoples.

Hosting Amador on Wednesday, the girls shut out the visitors by a 4-0 finale. Scoring were Ally Gonzales, with three goals for the hat trick, and Taylor Morrow, putting one in.

Assists came from Gomez and Morrow, while LaRossa had 10 saves.

Freshman LaRossa is one of the many young players that will bring some talent with them as they contribute at the varsity level.

"I have a really good young group of girls, a core group," agreed Peoples.

Traveling to the Modesto Christian Tournament for games on both Friday and Saturday, the Lady Cougars faced off first with Central Catholic and took a 1-0 lead in the first half on a goal from Gonzales, assisted by Gomez. Central was able to put one in with five minutes left in the game, forcing the 1-1 tie. LaRossa had 16 saves.

"She kept us in that game," Peoples said.

Game two on Friday saw the Cougars put away LeGrand, 6-0, with three goals in each half.

Sabrina Luque put in three goals, with two from Gonzales and one from Araceli Gallo, with Morrow assisting on two goals, and single assists from Luque, Gallo and Haylee Cook. LaRossa had just one save, as LeGrand never mounted much of an offense. On Saturday, the Lady Cougars stomped on Orestimba, pouring on the goals in an offensive onslaught.

"This tournament was set up a different way," Peoples explained, noting that it came down to the goals for/goals against differential between themselves and Central Catholic as to who would play in the championship game.

Escalon shut out Orestimba by a final of 15-0, a score that Peoples said she would never normally let happen.

"I was very apologetic," she said of meeting with the Orestimba coach.

Central shut out the team they were playing, 11-0, so Escalon had to beat that score in order to play for the title. Gonzales had six goals and one assist in the game, lighting up the nets. Luque had two goals, Kara McKee had two goals and two assists, Gomez had four goals and three assists, Morrow had one goal and seven assists, Cook had two assists.

"Taylor was playing perfect balls in," explained Peoples. "Kara, both her goals were on headers on corner kicks that Taylor sent in."

Escalon then faced off with Hughson in the championship game and the teams battled to a 0-0 tie in the first half. Escalon came away with a hard fought 3-2 victory when the final whistle sounded.

Gonzales capped her unbelievable weekend with two goals and an assist, Alondra Munoz had a goal, Moore had three assists and LaRossa made 13 saves in goal.

"It was just a back and forth game," Peoples said.

The team seemed to be on the defensive most of the first half, so Peoples said her halftime talk focused on what needed to change, with the team responding and being much more aggressive on the offensive side in the second half.

Escalon took first place in the inaugural MC tourney, Hughson was second, Central finished third and Modesto High took fourth.

The girls will be at Patterson today, March 9 for a game and host Mariposa on Thursday, March 10 at 4 p.m.