The Ripon High boys’ soccer team came up empty on numerous scoring chances against Escalon at Stouffer Field, losing the Trans-Valley League contest Tuesday, 3-1.
“Trying to find the back of the net — that continues to be our struggle,” said Indians coach Tiffany Gonsalves.
Ripon (1-6 TVL, 4-14) was quick to score, jumping ahead 1-0 on Ricky Alvarez’s unassisted goal with just four minutes into the game.
After that, the Indians, who dominated ball possession in the first half, would luck out on their chances to tack on to the lead.
Devin Duran, for one, blasted a shot from straightaway only to see it gobbled up by the Cougars goalie.
Defensively, Ripon limited Escalon (4-2-1 TVL, 6-10-2) from mounting up scoring threats.
Defender Antonio Cabello thwarted one breakaway threat while goalkeeper Payton Lockard came up with two spectacular saves, including one at near-point blank range and another being a diving rejection from the corner.
The Cougars finally caught a break in the 48th minute.
Mathew Baptista delivered on a header off Rudolfo Galvan’s corner kick, tying the game at 1-1.
Ripon continued to battle, but came up empty each time.
In the 62nd minute, sophomore striker Alexiz Rodriguez gave Escalon the lead by converting on a penalty kick.
Still, the Indians continued to battle. Jett Stitt’s fast-break try just missed the mark and Hector Gonzalez’s shot ricocheted off the sidebar of the goal.
“If the goal was two inches bigger this might be a different situation,” Gonsalves said.
Escalon — the Cougars came in tied with Riverbank, which played first-place Livingston that day, for third place in the TVL — took the steam out of Ripon for good on Christopher Borrego’s unassisted score in the 78th minute.
Ripon fell 4-2 to Escalon in the junior varsity game.