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Varsity Soccer Girls Take Down Pair Of Wins

Escalon's varsity soccer players notched a pair of decisive wins this week, taking a 4-1 win off the field from Ripon Christian and shutting out Riverbank 6-0.

On Monday, April 20 the girls faced off with the Lady Knights of Ripon Christian and took a 2-0 halftime lead, then increased the margin to 3-0 in the second half before RC got on the board. The final was 4-1.

"Alex Gonzales had a goal, Kara McKee had a goal, Sierra Duran and Amanda Franklin each had a goal," noted coach Jamie Peoples.

Assists in the contest came from Ana Castro, Taylor Morrow and Melanie Winkler.

"If you look at the shots we had, we completely dominated," Peoples said. "We had 26 shots on goal. We're finally playing consistently, in the past it has been clear the ball and kick it up the field, now we're passing well, working the ball up the middle and getting everyone involved."

Goalie Katie San Julian had a couple of saves in the contest, with Escalon's defense keeping the Ripon offense at bay for most of the game.

"They really stepped up and everyone played well," Peoples said.

Wednesday, hosting Riverbank in the home finale for the girls, they shut out the Lady Bruins in a game that could best be described as brutal.

Officials allowed plenty of body contact, which often led to more than the usually accepted amount of pushing, shoving, takedowns and - in one tense moment - the start of a wrestling match between two players on the field after they exchanged heated words. Others jumped in to stop the two girls from trying to fight it out, arriving before the referees. Each of the combatants got a yellow card and the physical play continued.

"It was physical, very intense," agreed Peoples. "The final was 6-0 and I know it must be frustrating for them (Riverbank) to keep losing."

The Lady Bruins are looking for their first win in league play and some of that frustration spilled over onto the field in the form of some unnecessary roughness. One of the incidents, in fact, spelled the end of Kara McKee's season, aggravating a knee injury and putting her on the bench the rest of the way.

Taking a 3-0 lead at the half, the Lady Cougars got goals from Esmeralda Gomez to start off the game, notching two of them right off the bat, unassisted.

"She had her best game of the season," Peoples explained of Gomez. "I started all my seniors (except the injured Krystal Lawrence) and they did well."

Along with the two goals from Gomez in the contest, other tallies came from Winkler and Franklin, also scoring two goals each. Franklin had two assists, Flor Gomez had two assists and Jaqueline Serpa had one assist.

"It was a great game for our seniors," Peoples said, noting that they did a little recognition ceremony for the 10 senior girls on the team after the victory. Each received a specially decorated cupcake with their name and number on it, then was given a moment in the limelight as teammates shared what they learned from their senior mentors.

Peoples said it was a bittersweet time as well, since only two teams will make the playoffs from the TVL this season and it doesn't look like Escalon will be one of them. Ripon remains on top of the standings undefeated and Hughson has hold of second place. Escalon, with losses to Ripon, Hughson and Modesto Christian, along with some ties, is unlikely to catch Hughson and take the second spot.

"It's unfortunate, especially since we have 10 seniors," Peoples said. "They deserve better than third place."

The girls were slated to play at Hughson on Monday, after The Times went to press and will be at Modesto Christian on Wednesday, April 29. They close out the campaign on the road at Ripon on Monday, May 4.