Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Ceiara Chavira looks for an open teammate during Saturday’s quarterfinal victory over Reedley to advance to Tuesday’s semifinal against top seed Redwood.
Swimming in familiar waters helped the Madera Coyotes girls water polo team advance to the Div. II semifinals after a 12-1 victory Saturday in the McAlister Aquatics Complex.
The fourth-seeded Coyotes received three goals from Ceaira Chavira and Emily Goertzen and rolled to a victory over No. 5 Reedley.
“The one big thing is we got the same drives and counters as we usually do, but we were hitting our shots this time,” head coach Erik Baymiller said. “They have a good goalie. I was really with their shooting because they were beating a good goalie.”
Seven of the nine field players scored for the Coyotes and the defense allowed one goal for the second straight playoff game, led by goalie Alexis Gibbs.
“This was a better game this time than we played them last time,” Baymiller said.
For the second time, Baymiller will send a team into the semifinals where they faced top seed Redwood at Golden West in Visalia. A win would send the Coyotes to their first Valley Championship game on Thursday.
“It will be tough,” Baymiller said. “We have game film from Redwood. We have everything we need. It feels good to get into the second week. This was a nerve racker for us because they play crazy sometimes. It was super physical in there. I was telling our girls to just calm yourself.”
The Coyotes got on the scoreboard in the third minute of the match. Bailey Hansen sent a long pass to an open Chavira in front of the goal. She waited for an opening and found the left corner for the 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, the Coyotes added to their lead. Hansen sent a ball into the hole-set. Maddie McNeil settled the ball, turned and shot into the right corner for a 2-0 lead.
After two Gibbs’ saves, the Coyotes scored with just 21 seconds left in the period. Off a pass from Selynna Rosales, Chavira got the ball in front and shot by the goalie on the left.
Emily Lopez got a steal at mid-pool, swam the ball to the front of the goal and waited for an opening. She finally shot inside the near post for a 4-0 lead.
Madera scored a minute later when Goertzen drew a five-meter penalty shot and went inside the right corner.
With 1:24 left in the half, Reedley got the ball in front and shot by Gibbs to cut Madera’s lead to four at the half.
After a Gibbs save opened the second half for the Coyotes, Hansen recorded her third assist of the game with a pass to Goertzen outside the defense. A wide-open Goertzen found the back of the net for a 6-1 lead with 5:54 left in the third period.
The Coyotes started to put the game out of reach with a goal 23 seconds later. Off a pass from McNeil, Chavira got the ball in front and scored past the goalie.
Tara Goertzen got the ball on the right and sent a soft shot over the Reedley goalie for an 8-1 lead with two minutes left in the third period.
Lopez, from the right side, shot high inside the far post for another goal to give Madera a 9-1 lead with 17 seconds left in the period.
Twenty-three seconds into the fourth period, Hansen lobbed a ball over the goalie’s arms for a goal and a 10-1 lead.
Three minutes later, the Coyotes added to their lead. Off a pass from Gabby Ruiz, Goertzen got a shot off wide open from the outside and found the back of the net.
With less than a minute left in the game, Tara Goertzen stole the ball and took it to the front. She passed it to the left for Rosales, who shot inside the near post for the goal and the 12-1 victory.