Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Austin Wade rises up to score one of his team-high seven goals in Thursday’s loss to San Joaquin Memorial. He scored 17 of Madera’s 25 goals this week.
After an exhilarating victory over the Bullard Knights to open the week, the Madera Coyote boys water polo team suffered a one-goal loss to San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno to close out the week.
The Coyotes hung onto a lead after Bullard got within one with 28 seconds left in the match on Tuesday. However, San Joaquin Memorial scored five goals in the fourth quarter for an 11-10 victory Thursday at the McAlister Swim Complex.
“Thursday’s match is a tough pill to swallow,” head coach Rick Martines said. “The guys all know what we need to focus on. Although we got defeated, each of my athletes left the deck with their head held high and tomorrow’s another day.”
Madera faces Edison on Tuesday and hosts Madera South on Thursday.
Both teams stayed close with each other Tuesday. Madera led 4-3 after the first and 8-7 at halftime. The Coyotes extended the lead to 13-10 at the end of the third quarter and scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter for a 15-10 lead.
However, Bullard scored the next four goals to get Martines a little worried.
Leading 15-12, Madera drew an ejection and Martines called time out.
“I explained to the guys to use the clock,” he said. “There should only be three possessions left.”
However, when the whistle blew to begin play, the Coyotes forgot Martines’ advise and shot, and missed, within five seconds.
Bullard got a counter and scored with 47 seconds left in the match. Madera lost the ball early in its next possession and Bullard countered with a goal with 28 seconds left to cut the lead to one.
“We were able to get the win, passing the ball around until time expired,” Martines said. “We are still having a hard time using the clock and gaining the win with a comfortable lead. There was really no reason that the game got to where it did in the end. I only have two varsity players that have played at this level for two seasons (PJ Ornelas and Austin Wade). For the rest of my team, this is their first time on varsity. I’m 100 percent positive that this area of weakness is getting better and it’ll be ironed out.”
However, for all the momentum Madera created after its win over Bullard, the Coyotes lost in their match against the Panthers on Thursday.
“We could not transition to the defense SJM was playing,” Martines said. “Which was forcing us to shoot from outside. I feel it rattled my guys psychologically and took us out of the game.”
Madera led 5-3 after the first period, 7-5 at the half and 8-6 after the third quarter. However, Memorial scored five goals in the fourth period for the win.
“Due to the defense they were running, the guys had a tough time getting into the rhythm of our motion offense,” Martines said. “We were stagnant and not vocal with each other. With the defense SJM had, it forced my guys to shoot outside. We became nervous to shoot, when we should’ve capitalized. We also needed to continue our motion offense.”