In the first doubleheader home playoff matches in Madera Coyote water polo history, the sixth-seeded Coyote boys water polo team started the sweep with an 11-4 victory over 11th seeded Bakersfield Christian.
The Coyotes got three goals each from Austin Wade and Conner Huber to lead Madera into the quarterfinals against
No. 3 Strathmore today at 11:30 a.m. in the Div. III playoffs.
“In the water the guys were flat,” head coach Rick Martines said. “I told them to support your players. Confidence is the key. They didn’t start doing that until the fourth quarter when they started thinking they were okay and started to wake up.”
The Coyotes got an early goal from Wade and held off a Bakersfield Christian comeback attempt for the victory Wednesday in McAlister Pool.
“The quick goal got the jitters out of the way,” Martines said. “The boys came in a little overconfident. They were looking at Maxpreps.com and seeing what the rankings were. I don’t think they were totally mentally prepared with the right aptitude they should have had.”
The Coyotes received goals from five different players and that’s important to Martines.
“It’s important to know that we can score from multiple guys,” he said. “Again, Maxpreps shows a lot about our stats and know that Austin Wade is our guy. It’s important that we had other guys scoring.”
Off a pass from Anthony Campos to Wade on the left, Wade found the right corner for a goal just 1:29 into the match.
The Coyotes didn’t score again until 1:27 was left in the first period when Campos got the ball on the left in a man-up situation and found the near corner for a 2-0 lead.
Bakersfield Christian scored its first goal, getting a point blank goal with 18 seconds left in the first.
After a P.J. Ornelas block, Robby Niino started the counterattack with along pass to Huber in front. His quick shot went over the keeper for a 3-1 lead with 6:19 left in the first half. Ornelas had 10 blocks in the match.
The Eagles cut the lead to one with a goal with five minutes left. Then, Chris Vasquez got a goal from in front of the goal off a pass from Jordan Martines for a 4-2 lead.
Bakersfield Christian cut the lead, again, to one with a goal with two minutes left in the half.
Ernesto Solis set up Madera’s next goal with fake shots to pull the goalie to him. Solis then passed across the goalie cage to Vasquez, who shot into the open net for a 5-3 lead and give Madera control of the match.
Bakersfield Christian opened the second half scoring with a goal with 4:30 left in the third period. However, the Coyotes outscored the Eagles 6-0 the rest of the match.
“They started running a different offense,” Martines said. “At the end, we were pressing and they weren’t getting anything. In the beginning, we weren’t putting stuff away and it wasn’t the way we play. If we play like that against Strathmore, we’re going to have big issues. It’s hard to get these guys to play at the right level.”
Madera started to pull away about 30 seconds later when Wade got the ball on the right in a man-up situation. He sent a skip shot into the far corner for a 6-4 lead.
Thirty seconds later, Huber got the ball on the left and shot into the left corner for a 7-4 lead with 3:25 left in the third.
Huber, in a man-up situation, sent a skip shot under the arm of the goalie for an 8-4 lead with 24 seconds left in the third.
Wade set up the next goal when his shot was blocked. Campos was there to send the shot back in for a 9-4 lead with 6:16 left in the match.
After two blocks by Ornelas, the Coyotes closed out the match with goals in the final 1:14.
With a man-advantage, Solis got the ball on the left and drove to the goalie. With no defenders coming to him. Solis kept moving to the goalie and shot by him for a 10-4 lead.
Vasquez assisted Wade on a quick shot by the goalie for the final goal with 39 seconds left in the match.