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Tie, Loss For Varsity Soccer Boys In League Play
Girls Drop Pair
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Freshman midfielder Jesse Gomez, 16, stops the forward progress of his varsity opponent from Livingston as junior halfback Jacen Peoples, at right, also comes in to the play. The visiting Wolves shut out the Cougars in league play on Jan. 19. Marg Jackson/The Times

After playing to a 2-2 tie on Tuesday against Ripon, the Escalon varsity soccer boys were throttled by Livingston, 6-0, on Wednesday.

Both games this past week were on the home field, first hosting the Indians on Jan. 18.

“They scored two minutes in to the game on a deflection,” said head coach Paul Silva. “We scored about 30 minutes in, the goal from freshman Jesse Gomez, it was unassisted.”

That made it 1-1 but the Indians got a last minute goal in the first half to take a 2-1 halftime lead.

Escalon was able to answer just three minutes in to the second half, on a goal from Matthew Baptista, the assist from Gomez.

“Matthew is normally my center fullback but I pushed him forward,” Silva said of juggling player positions.

In this case, it worked, as Baptista provided a little offensive spark.

“We got a penalty kick with two minutes left in the game but unfortunately we missed it; it was heartbreaking,” Silva said of failing to take advantage of the late game opportunity.

Aldo Yepiz made four saves in goal to preserve the tie.

In the second of the back-to-back games, Livingston came to Escalon for a Wednesday, Jan. 19 game and left with a 6-0 victory.

“They pass well, they apply pressure on the ball constantly,” Silva explained of the solid effort by the Wolves. “They haven’t lost anybody to COVID and they’re very sound in their play.”

Escalon has been dealing with players being out as a result of quarantining and it has been difficult to keep juggling the lineup, said Silva, with players rotating into unfamiliar positions.

“At one point we were down five, six guys,” the coach noted, leaving just a handful of subs available on game day.

Livingston built up a 4-0 lead at the half – including converting on a couple of penalty kicks – and scored two more in the second half to earn the shutout win.

“The guys worked hard,” added Silva, but could not get going offensively on Wednesday. “We need to be a little more clinical.”

The Cougars enter the week tied for third place with Hughson and battled the Huskies to a 1-1 tie in the first round. They are scheduled to host Hughson in a crucial TVL contest on Wednesday, Jan. 26 and then go to Hilmar, close behind in the standings, for a Friday, Jan. 28 game.


JV Boys

It was a win by forfeit for the JV soccer boys on Tuesday, as Ripon did not have enough players to field a team.

Wednesday, the young Cougars took the home field and hosted Livingston, battling to a hard fought 2-1 win.

“Dominic Murrillo had one goal, Angel Romero had one goal,” said JV head coach Polo Rodriguez.

Murrillo’s goal came on a rebound, drilling it home.

“It was quite a nice shot,” Rodriguez said. “Romero’s goal, he took a shot from outside the 18; it just went over the goalie’s head and in.”

Escalon goalie Angel Perez had six saves in the win.

It was a hard-hitting contest, as the game featured three yellow cards and one red; the red for a blatant karate chop to the back of an Escalon player; a hit that could be heard along the Escalon sideline and resulting in the Livingston player being ejected from the game late in the second half.

With the forfeit win and the 2-1 decision over Livingston, the JV team improved to 5-1-1 in league play. This week, they are scheduled to host Hughson on Wednesday, looking to avenge a first round 2-1 loss to the Huskies. They will be on the road Friday at Hilmar.


Lady Cougars

The road was not a hospitable place for Escalon’s soccer girls this past week. They lost two games in Trans-Valley League play, falling to Ripon and Livingston.

Varsity head coach Jamie Peoples said the game at Ripon ended in a tough 8-1 loss for her squad, with Natalie Titsworth notching the only goal on the day for Escalon.

“Karissa McNeil played great in goal both games and made save after save for us,” Peoples noted.

On the other side, the Lady Cougars just had trouble getting into any kind of offensive groove.

“We played a great first half against Livingston,” Peoples said, and they went into the second half down just by a goal, 1-0. “We just ran out of gas from defending constantly.”

Final score against the Lady Wolves was 6-0 in favor of the host Livingston squad.

The JV girls also suffered a pair of losses and they spent the week undermanned; suiting up just 10 players for each contest.

“We were missing girls for various reasons,” Peoples said.

Action this week sees the girls getting back on the pitch, slated to play at Hughson on Wednesday and then take on Hilmar at home on Friday, Jan. 28.

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Getting ready to send the ball up the field is Escalon varsity player Natalie Titsworth, 24, shown in earlier season action on the home pitch. A rough week for the Lady Cougars saw both the JV and varsity squads take losses in Trans-Valley League contests. Marg Jackson/The Times
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Escalon’s junior varsity boys defeated Livingston in a hard fought match on Jan. 19; here, freshman defender Eduardo Cortes, 26, works to get in position for the header in second half action. Marg Jackson/The Times