Wendy Alexander/ The Madera Tribune
The Madera Coyote girls soccer team celebrates Penolopi Leach’s goal in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over San Joaquin Memorial.
Although he isn’t concerned about it, but if the Madera Coyote girls soccer team keeps waiting until the late moments of matches to score a go-ahead goal, head coach Cameron Hill may start sporting gray hairs.
“I’m not worried about it too much,” he said after Madera’s 1-0 victory Tuesday over the San Joaquin Memorial-Panthers in Memorial Stadium. “My brother is 18 months older and he is sporting some.”
Freshman Penolopi Leach scored in the 28th minute of the second half for the only goal of the County/Metro Athletic Conference match.
“We are starting to kind of believe, even though the results haven’t come our way,” Hill said. “Getting a win like this shows the hard work is paying off. It’s hard to play a certain way and lose. It’s hard to take positives. When you play that way and win, it’s shows what we can do.”
The last three Coyotes victories — over Buchanan-Fresno and Madera South — have been 1-0 wins.
“It’s there,” Hill said. “We’re this close. We watch the video and see how close we are. Going forward, we will see positives and think we can do this thing, win some games and head into the playoffs.”
Led by sweeper Anyssa Garcia and goalkeepers Sabryna Owen-Martinez and Jessica Diaz, the Coyotes pulled off another shutout victory — all six wins have been by shutout.
“Keeping the ball has been helping the defense a lot. Before, we were under so much pressure, it looked like it was the defense’s fault, but we weren’t holding the ball on the offensive end. We have good back line players. As a team, we’re starting to play team defense and team offense.”
In the second minute of the match, Brooke Gill took the ball on the left in front of the defense, but shot into the side of the net. Two minutes later, Mia Alvarez, had a free kick from 25 yards out, but the shot went off the keeper and the ball went out of bounds.
In the 10th minute, San Joaquin Memorial got the ball by Madera’s defense. They shot the ball in front, but it went off the crossbar. Aubrey Martinez cleared the ball out to keep the match scoreless.
Alvarez sent a header in front of the goal in the 17th minute, but Garcia’s header was blocked.
Diaz came out on a save in the 34th minute and swatted the ball to a teammate and Yvette Zuniga’s header of an Alvarez corner kick went wide in the 35th minute.
In the 18th minute of the second half, the Panthers got a shot on goal, but Diaz made a kick save and the rebound shot went wide.
Madera put the ball into the back of the net in the 28th minute. With a free kick from about 45 yards out, Garcia sent the ball to the front of the goal. Gill leaped and got a piece of the ball and sent it across the goal to the right. Leach was right there for the pass. She settled the ball and rifled a ball into the lower right corner for her third goal of the season, first in CMAC.
Memorial pressured to tie the score, but the Coyotes’ defense held tough and only allowed one good chance. The Panthers got the ball in front and Diaz came out to defense. The Memorial attacker dribbled by Diaz, but Garcia stepped in front of the attacker and cleared the ball out before a shot into the open net.
Alvarez put the pressure on the Panthers and came close in the final minute. She intercepted a Panther’s pass inside the box, but shot high on goal.