Hilmar High shutout rivals Escalon High 4-0 at home on Wednesday to take first place in the Trans Valley League.
“We had a little celebration, cause when we played there last time we lost 3-0,” Hilmar head coach Louie Bettencourt said. “I made a promise to the team that when [we] play them at home we were going to be prepared and come out ready to play. I said when [we] get home we have to make our statements.”
Hilmar’s first goal came in the sixth minute as Oliviah Gemperle hit the back of the net. Jaimee Rocha netted the second score in the 34th off an assist from Gemperle. Within 10 minutes of the second half, Bernadette Silveira knocked in the third goal. Only 17 minutes after, Gamperle scored the game-closer.
“They took themselves personal today, the midfield was definitely playing well,” Bettencourt said. “We play the triangle and that has been working and frustrates most teams that try to get the ball. You get rid of it quick, you avoid loss of the ball and we exposed that today.”
Hilmar has averaged over three goals per game this season with three players scoring over 14 goals apiece. The ‘Jackets have scored 69 goals this season and have allowed only 29.
“I tell the team that you’re either going to be contenders or pretenders and you need to come out and play,” Bettencourt said. “I have a midfield that can control the game; they can either win it or lose it.”
The ‘Jackets are now on a four game winning streak and have won the last 12 of 14 games; and they now sit atop the TVL at (9-2) with one game remaining in the regular season. Escalon follows in second at (8-2-1).
“I said this is only the beginning, we have one more against Ripon which is also a huge rivalry,” Bettencourt said. “So it will be interesting how the league turns out until the very last game.”
If the ‘Jackets could win their finale at home against Ripon High, they would secure their second consecutive TVL title and hopes of the postseason.
“Last year we went to the semi-finals and lost in penalty kicks,” Bettencourt said. “But this year I know these girls have it in them. These girls need to be more consistent in the post season, because it is a lot easier to get knocked off the playoffs so they need to be prepared.”