Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Angelica Gutierrez battles with a San Joaquin Memorial defender during Thursday’s victory. She scored a goal and assisted on another.
The Madera South Stallions girls’ soccer team upset league rivals San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno 3-1 to open County/Metro Athletic Conference play in Memorial Stadium.
The Panthers were overwhelmed early by the Madera South attack on Thursday and were unable to get back into the game. The Stallions get their first league win of the year with a spirited performance at home.
“We discussed our loss against Clovis and we knew we had to hit our gear right away,” Madera South head coach Ramon Delgadillo said. “We practiced yesterday and we encouraged the girls to come out with everything in the first game of the league. We practiced a few things here and there to be more offensive, so I guess it paid off.”
The Stallions started off fast making deep runs into the opponent’s final third. The Stallions were rewarded with a free kick just outside the penalty area in the fourth minute. Itzel Rodriguez fired the ball into the penalty area which beat the Panthers goalkeeper opening the scoring late in the first half.
A few minutes later, the Stallions had another chance coming from the right wing as Yulianna Lomeli floated in a searching cross for her teammate in the box. The ball was grabbed by the Panthers’ goalkeeper.
The Stallions had multiple long range efforts in the first half go wide, however Delgadillo stated that stat was part of the game plan.
“At the beginning of the season, we were just trying to penetrate a lot,” Delgadillo said. “I told them we have to work in combinations, long shots and mid-distance shots. It was a combination of all three that we’ve been working on.”
Sabrina Ibrahim and Angelica Gutierrez showed great skill with a crafty one-two in the opponent’s side of the field in the 26th minute, but Gutierrez fired the ball wide of the post. The Stallions consistent attacking approach led to another chance towards the end of the first half.
The Panthers were in the midst of a counterattack when the Stallion defense intercepted the ball and set Gutierrez free 30 yards down the field. She expertly controlled the clearance and calmly slotted the ball home past the opposing goalkeeper from about 10 yards out to give Madera South a 2-0 lead.
The Stallions scored their third goal less than 10 minutes into the second half. Gutierrez sent a shot from15 yards out, that deflected off the post and directly into the path of Carolina Reyes, who easily finished to give Madera South a 3-0 lead, essentially ending the game.
The Panthers later scored to bring the score to 3-1, however solid defense from the Stallions ensured a league win.
“I think she’s (Gutierrez) really really aggressive”, Delgadillo said. “She’s dedicated and puts in 100 percent every time. She did really well today on top and then when I put her at defender as well.”