A couple of years ago, the San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers were the teams the Madera Coyotes girls water polo team was looking up to. Now, it’s the other way around and the Coyotes defeated the Panthers for the third time this season to advance to the quarterfinals of the Div. II first round playoffs.
The seventh-seeded Coyotes outscored the 10th seeded Panthers 6-1 in the second half for a 12-5 victory Wednesday in McAlister Pool to complete Madera’s first home doubleheader playoff matches with a sweep.
Six different Coyotes scored goals, including four from Emily Goertzen and three from record-setting goal scorer Jessica Diaz. They also got goals from Ceaira Chavira, Selynna Rosales, Shelby Seybold and Tara Goertzen.
“We were balanced,” head coach Erik Baymiller said. “That is the biggest difference we have tried to change. They are an 11 seed for a reason. We should have blown them out of the water. Because they know Jessica is our main scorer, they shut her down and we have a new game on our hands. The last seven games we’ve played has been against people who know us. We’ve been getting Emily to score and other players to score. We had six goal scorers tonight.”
Now the Coyotes turn their attention to today’s match against the second seeded Hanford at 11:30 a.m.
“I’m actually really excited, we’re within a couple of goals of the top teams,” Baymiller said. “The big thing is Hanford doesn’t know us. They don’t know Jessica will swim your face off. They don’t know Jessica will score whenever she has the ball. They had two scouts watching us play and we didn’t use Jessica at all. They are going to see a team with six different goal scorers. When you get there, that’s going to open up Jessica. I guarantee you we’ll get up 3-0 because they are going to get the ball to Jessica and she’s going to score three goals before they realize what’s going on.”
Chavira helped get the Coyotes on the board early in the match. She sent a long ball to the right for Rosales, who shot by the goalie for a 1-0 lead just 1:21 into the match.
About a minute later, Emily Goertzen stole the ball from Memorial and drove to the middle of the pool. She sent a long shot into the upper right corner of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
In a man-advantage, Rosales sent a cross to 13 for a quick shot into the upper corner of the goal with 1:52 left in the first. Thirty seconds later, Chavira drove to the front of the net before delivering a pass to Diaz, who sent the ball into the net for a 4-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers came back with two straight goals before the Coyotes added a goal in a man-advantage. Goertzen got the ball on the outside and shot into the upper left corner for a 5-2 lead.
Seventeen seconds later, the Panthers cut the Coyotes’ lead to two with a goal. Less than a minute later, Diaza gave the Coyotes a three goal lead with a shot into the open net off an assist from Tara Goertzen.
The Panthers cut the lead back to two with a goal with 49 seconds left in the third period.
After meeting with Baymiller at the halftime break, the Coyotes scored six goals in the second half.
Tara Goertzen got the scoring started with a shot from the front for a 7-4 lead just 1:14 into the period.
Sami Crenshaw took the ball in the middle and passed to the left for Emily Goertzen, who found the upper left corner for the goal and an 8-4 lead.
Memorial scored a goal 25 seconds later to cut the lead to 8-5, but were shut out in the fourth.
After Serenity Giron drew an ejection penalty, she sent a quick pass to Diaz in front, who shot by the goalie for a 9-5 lead at the end of the third period.
“I told the girls the difference between the first and second quarters and they went and made the change, which is just us swimming with speed,” Baymiller said. “We got up 4-0 in the first and kind of relaxed.”
Just 53 seconds into the fourth quarter, Diaz found Chavira on the left for a high floater over the goalie for a 10-5 lead.
Off the final of her six blocks, Aubry Choate started the counter attack with a long pass to Seybold. She took the ball to the goalie and shot by her for the goal.
Diaz closed out the scoring with a goal from in front with 45 seconds left in the match for the 12-5 victory.