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Varsity Soccer Girls Split With Ripon, Ripon Christian
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Losing big to Ripon, the Escalon varsity Lady Cougars battled back to beat Ripon Christian in soccer action on the Trans-Valley League schedule this week.

They faced off with undefeated Ripon on Monday, March 23 and fell, 6-1.

"We lost but the good thing is we get to play them two more times," coach Jamie Peoples said of looking to do better against the Indians the next time around. "They're a great team, they're not undefeated for no reason."

Ripon roared out to a 5-0 halftime lead. Escalon made some adjustments and played them evenly in the second half, each team notching a single goal over the final 40 minutes.

Katie San Julian had nine saves in goal and Flor Gomez got the score for Escalon, assisted by Alex Gonzales and Amanda Franklin.

"That game was just really frustrating," admitted Peoples. "They didn't come out and play well, they were flat."

Against Ripon, starting a game flat leaves you struggling to catch up and, at least in this first go-round, the Lady Cougars were not able to do that.

"We went to Ripon Christian on Wednesday and bounced back, played well," Peoples said. "We were going against the wind in the first half and were up 1-0 at halftime, we had endless opportunities, we just didn't get it in the net."

With the wind, the squad teed off in the second half, coming away with a 5-2 victory.

"In the first half, we had shot after shot, we just couldn't buy a goal," Peoples explained. "In the second half, we had the wind with us and we were finally finishing."

The last 25 minutes, Peoples switched out to put all her second unit players in, giving them some valuable playing time.

San Julian had seven saves and Autumn Andersen went in for the final 25 minutes, making four saves herself.

Amanda Franklin had two goals and an assist on the day, Esmeralda Gomez had a goal, Alex Gonzales had a goal and an assist and Melissa Ramirez had a goal.

"She's one of our captains that comes on the field from the bench," Peoples explained of Ramirez. "She sees the field really well and has probably the best footwork on the team."

The split put Escalon into third place in league, behind undefeated Ripon and second place Hughson. They have a big week this week, facing off with Riverbank - who they tied in the first round - and Hughson, who they lost to and need to get past if they want to battle for a playoff spot.

Peoples said she was glad to see the team take the road game at RC, setting them up for what she hopes are a couple of good performances this week.

"When you have a tough game like Ripon, a good team needs to bounce back," she noted. "They needed to put it behind them and they did."

The girls were at Riverbank on Monday, past press time for The Times, and will host Hughson in a crucial match on Wednesday, April 1 at 4:30 p.m.

On the JV side, the girls did play against Ripon on Monday but had to forfeit when player Jill Gardner went down with a mild concussion late in the game.

The score was 3-2 in favor of Ripon when the Cougars forfeited.

"We were dominating the second half," said coach Jason Collinsworth.

As tough as it was to forfeit, the decision was made for safety and the team accepted the loss. Corrisa Bolls had both goals for her team and was presented with the game ball.

The JV girls will also play this week, taking on Hughson at home on Wednesday.