By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Varsity Soccer Boys Battle To Tie Against Riverbank
In action Friday night in Riverbank, Cougar midfielder Alfonzo Gonzalez, 26, gets ready to send the ball down the field. He had an assist as the Escalon squad fought to a 2-2 tie with the host Bruins in the league finale for both teams. Ric McGinnis/The Times

In the regular season finale, Escalon’s soccer boys traveled to nearby Riverbank for a pivotal Trans-Valley League match.

It ended in a 2-2 tie, as the host Bruins converted on a late penalty kick to forge the draw.

Escalon, finishing in fourth place in the TVL, will get a berth in the playoffs, as four teams from the league will move on to the second season. They were scheduled to travel to take on Delhi in the first round of the playoffs in an evening contest on Thursday, Feb. 10.

“Riverbank scored in the 22nd minute to go up 1-0 at the half,” said head coach Paul Silva. “We got the equalizer in the second half, about nine minutes in, Andy Alpizar scored, there was no assist, it was just bouncing around in the box and he put it in.”

Escalon got the lead with about 15 minutes to go in the game, Miguel Granados finding the net with an assist from Alfonzo Gonzalez.

“With about two minutes left, Riverbank got a penalty kick; a lot of people didn’t think it should have been one,” admitted Silva. “There was some contact (player to player) but he (Bruin) went down pretty easy.”

Still, it was ruled a penalty shot and the Bruins capitalized, knotting the score at 2-2.

“The intensity increased in the second half, we had a lot of chances, Riverbank had a lot of chances,” Silva said. “It was a playoff-like intensity and atmosphere; a very exciting game.”

Goalie Aldo Yepiz had six saves and the game was played under the lights at Riverbank’s Angelo Novi Field.

Escalon ended the TVL campaign at 3-4-3 and were anticipating finding out their first round playoff pairing on Tuesday, Feb. 8 after The Times went to press.

Riverbank was second in the league to first place Livingston, which went 9-0-1. Hughson was third and Escalon fourth.

“I think we have the talent to do well in the playoffs,” Silva said. “We just need to be more clinical in front of the goal.”

Escalon compiled an overall record of 8-8-5 for the season.

Earlier this season, they hosted a senior night, recognizing the 15 seniors on the roster and starting 11 of them, getting them all in to the mix during the game.



Closing out their season, the JV Cougars took a 5-1 win off the pitch at Riverbank on Friday.

Two goals came from Waseem Waheeb with one each from Raul Calderon, Dylan Pena and Carlos Diaz. Calderon had two assist and Pena’s goal was a header that came off a corner kick.

“That was our last one, we’re done,” JV head coach Polo Rodriguez said of the Feb. 4 contest. “We had our ups and downs, we had some kids out at times but overall it was a pretty good season.”

The squad ended with a 7-1-2 record in TVL play and went 11-4-3 overall.



Just one game was on the schedule for the varsity Lady Cougars this week. They hosted Riverbank at home on Friday, Feb. 4 and it was Senior Night. The team recognized senior Haylee Barajas for her contributions to the program.

Riverbank, though, got the better of the host squad on the day, taking a 2-0 win off the field.

Escalon moves on to the playoffs, fourth in the TVL, and goes on the road to Sonora for a Friday, Feb. 11 opening round game.