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Short-handed Soccer Team
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Defeated By Escalon

Playing without several of their usual starters, Riverbank High School soccer team suffered a 3-0 shutout at the hands of Escalon players on Tuesday.

Even the Bruins subsequent 4-1 win over Hughson on Thursday could not restore their playoff chances.

Patterson leads the Trans Valley League in soccer, followed by Livingston and Hilmar fighting for second place. Only two teams this year will go to the playoffs.

"The grades hit us. We lost Jesus Jepez (the team's leading scorer) and two other starters in the defense," said Riverbank coach Martin Gonzales of the Escalon game.

Gonzales added that he disbanded the junior varsity squad, which also lost three or four players to grades, and pulled some up to the varsity squad. But it was difficult to get the old and new players to move together. Escalon, meanwhile, was having a good day.

Arturo Albor was pulled out of goal and Raymundo Garcia replaced him, but the team remained uncoordinated.

"We were struggling, and Escalon was together. The positive side was we made some good goal saves and our jayvees got some experience at the varsity level," said Gonzales.

Against Hughson, Francisco De Los Santos scored two of Riverbank's goals and Albor, the other, with an assist by Juan Lopez. Taking his turn in goal, Albor made three saves, and Garcia five.

"Hughson showed a lot of heart," said Gonzales. "But we'd had a day to practice since the Escalon mess, and we were more together."

De Los Santos took a nice pass from the wing, turned and shot low into the net's right corner for his first goal. The other came on an assist by Ramiro Calderon, who put the ball right by De Los Santos left foot, perfect for a player who kicks with his left foot.

For his goal, Albor found the ball by himself, bounced around the opposition and drilled it into the corner of the net.

The Bruin team was always young, with half of it made up of freshmen and sophomores, said Gonzales. Next year they will still be young, but experienced. He's looking forward to having a formidable team.

This week signals the end of the season. With a 7-6 record, the Bruins were due to play a home match against Livingston on Tuesday as the finale.