Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Brooke Wristen (3) and Holly Strong celebrate Wristen’s goal during a 2-0 victory Tuesday over Madera.
In one of the few sports where Liberty, Madera and Madera South can battle equally, the Liberty Hawks girls soccer team scored two goals in the final 10 minutes for a 2-0 victory over the Madera Coyotes.
The Hawks got a goal from Brooke Wristen and a penalty kick goal from Holly Strong to win the first installment of the Madera-Liberty-Madera South match-up. The Hawks and Stallions battle Thursday in Memorial Stadium while Madera South and Madera will see each other twice in the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
“It was intense for 80 minutes, whether we scored or not,” Liberty head coach Erick Walker said. “It was a great game. The referee was interesting, to say the least.”
“It came down to we had a chance to score and we didn’t finish,” Madera head coach Cameron Hill said. “They had a chance and they finished. We knew that was their go-to girl. Things happen in the game and she took the ball well. It was an even game.”
Madera goalkeeper Yesenia Montoya and Liberty goalkeepers Carly Tynan and Trinity McGuire kept each team off the scoreboard for the first 70 minutes of the match.
“We had to make a quick switch on defense and they played well.” Hill said. “Things happen when a girl is that fast. Overall, they played really well. It was the same as last year, we can’t finish the play.”
However, the Madera defense couldn’t stop the Wristen and Strong connection. Strong set up Wristen for her goal and Wristen’s offensive pressure forced a hand ball in the box to set up Strong’s penalty kick.
“They work so well together,” Walker said. “It was similar to when Brooke worked with her sister. They play together in club and read each other so well. They just know where the other will be.”
Liberty had the first chance to score when Wristen got a breakaway in the second minute with a step ahead of her defender. She took the ball to the front on the left, but shot wide right. Three minutes later, Strong had a free kick from about 20 yards out, but it was caught by Montoya.
In the ninth minute, Brooke Gill battled Liberty to keep the ball from clearing the Liberty zone and earned a corner kick. Anyssa Garcia’s corner kick went in front, but Brisa Meza’s header went wide.
Tynan kept the Coyotes off the board with a catch on a high ball on goal. In the 12th minute, Wristen got the ball on the right and shot to the near post, but Montoya made the stop.
In the 24th minute, Strong got the ball in the middle and sent a ball to Wristen on the left. Wristen worked the ball to the front of the goal and passed to her right where Strong had a shot go wide to the left.
On the counter, Madera earned a free kick from about 20 yards out. Garcia sent the ball to the middle, but Tynan made the save.
Gill got a breakaway in the 28th middle. She took the ball to the front and shot on goal. Mattie McCombs, coming back for support, blocked the ball out for Liberty.
On the ensuing corner kick Mia Alvarez sent a ball on goal. Emily Nguyen sent a header on goal. Tynan batted the ball up and over the crossbar to keep the Coyotes off the scoreboard.
In the second half, Strong sent a free kick wide in the ninth minute. In the 13th minute, Gill got the ball in front and sent an 18-yard shot wide left. Two minutes later, Wristen got the ball on the right and took it to the end line. Her shot was caught by Montoya.
Nguyen had a great opportunity in the 18th minute on the right side. She shot for the for post, but the ball rolled wide left.
In the 21st minute, Sara Garibay got the ball in the middle and sent it to Wristen on the right. Wristen’s shot went over the goal.
Wristen got another chance three minutes later, but Montoya stopped the shot.
Finally, Wristen found the back of the net. In the 30th minute, Strong got the ball in the middle and sent a perfect pass to Wristen, who had two steps on her opponent. She shot, from the right, high on goal, just over Montoya’s outstretched hands into the back of the net for the goal.
Three minutes later, Wristen, on another pass from Strong, battled with two Madera defenders inside the goalkeeper’s box on the right. The ball popped up and a Madera defender hit it with her hand, which resulted in a penalty kick. Strong stepped up and sent a shot to the left by Montoya for an insurance goal.
Liberty continues play in the Garces Holiday Festival today. Meanwhile, Madera hosts Clovis North on Wednesday.