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Varsity Soccer Boys Close Campaign With Win
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An up and down season, which saw the varsity squad manage just two Trans-Valley League victories, came to an end on the road on a winning note for Escalon's soccer boys on Thursday.

The team traveled to Modesto Christian for the TVL finale on Oct. 27 and came away with a 6-2 win. That followed a 0-0 tie with Hilmar on Tuesday, wrapping up the home campaign on Senior Night on Oct. 25.

"Both teams had some chances," coach Paul Silva said of Tuesday's scoreless draw. "Hilmar had a penalty kick in the second half but they shot it wide, we had a couple of one-on-ones and couldn't connect."

Hilmar finished in second place in league to Riverbank and those two squads, along with third place Hughson, will head to the playoffs. Escalon closed out the league season with a 2-8-2 mark, defeating Modesto Christian twice and tying Hilmar and Orestimba one time apiece.

"We played fairly well, we had the better possessions and controlled the game," Silva added, noting they took eight shots on goal. "We looked pretty good, we just couldn't finish."

Six of the team's seven seniors were on hand for the game - Lucas Cruz was absent - and those seniors played most of the game. They included Tyler Avilla, Carlos Brasil, Austen Cardoza, Jordan Hall, Danny Pantoja and Mason Silva.

"They all got to start and played pretty much the entire game," Silva said.

Hall had four saves in the first half in goal, Cardoza made three in the second half.

In the road game on Thursday, senior Hall netted two first half goals, getting the chance to play the field instead of in the net, with Pantoja (1), Silva (2) and Victor Alvarado (1) adding the second half scores. Hall assisted on Silva's goal and Dervin Murphy, a sophomore brought up for the final game, assisted on Alvarado's goal.

"I started him (Murphy) in goal and he played 70 minutes, then I put him on the field and he got an assist," Silva said of the sophomore call up.

Hall, who got most of the starts in goal for the varsity team this season, made the most of his time out of the net by scoring and has proven to be a valuable player no matter where he is for the Cougars.

"He just kind of settles the field, he has a very calm approach," explained Silva.

Hall, Cardoza and Silva are three seniors that have been versatile and a boost to the team, said the coach.

"Mason was our sweeper and he was our second leading scorer with five goals, he really is the heart and soul of the team," Silva explained. "Jordan has been tremendous in goal and he was really key for us when Mason was out injured, he had never played sweeper before and did a good job. Austen has just been so versatile this year, he has that 'never say quit' positive attitude all the time, just a hard working kid, those three will be hard to replace."

Junior Varsity

Displaying the hard work ethic and determination that has marked their season, the Escalon JV soccer boys came up short in their finale, losing 3-0 to Hilmar on Oct. 25.

Coach Chris Oliveira said he was proud to coach the team, noting they stressed character and hard work over getting the wins.

"Hilmar showed up with seven guys," Oliveira explained. "Our guys could have thumped them, we could have played 11 on seven but they wanted to play them even."

So Escalon sent just seven players out as well and took the loss.

"I couldn't ask for a better group of guys, they worked hard and they're a great group," said Oliveira.