The Madera Coyotes girl’s soccer team came away empty handed after a 2-1 overtime loss to the Clovis West Golden Eagles.
“I thought they battled, they tried,” Madera head coach Cameron Hill said. “We got an early goal and they kind of pinned us back. We were defending for most of the game, but we defended well for the most part. But when you keep having balls just pinged back at you over and over, you’re bound to break at some point.”
Although the Coyotes scratched first behind Natalia Mata Thursday night, they couldn’t find a breakthrough the rest of the game. Freshman keeper, Breanna Salazar, kept her team in the game after a 14-save performance.
The Golden Eagles had 16 shots on goal. Salazar kept her composure throughout, leaping and diving to deny the opponent.
“She played well against Liberty and, so we put her back in because the other goalkeeper got hurt,” Hill said. “She played really well the past two games. She’s only a freshman so she is showing herself well. I think she’s settled in and gaining confidence.”
After Mata got the Coyotes off to a perfect start, the game began to heat up. Both teams dug in on a cold December night, showcasing their physicality.
Brooke Gil provided the Coyotes lone spark throughout the first half. Her ability to pick the ball up in midfield and run down the flank, gave the Eagles problems.
Although smaller in stature than her defenders, Gil showed power and vision to get into the opponent final third on occasion.
Even though some of the Eagles defending was borderline card worthy, Gil took the hits and kicks in order to help her team win.
Just before half, the Eagles were surging down the field. They capitalized on a deflection and were primed to tie the game at one, but were denied by one of Salazar’s 14 saves. She stood on her line and parried the ball out of danger.
The Coyotes went into the half leading 1-0 but couldn’t muster anything else.
Determined to draw the game level, the Eagles came out firing, forcing Salazar into another difficult situation.
She plotted the flight of the ball before she leapt into the air to save a potential goal.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes’ luck would run out.
The Golden Eagles put one in the back of the net midway through the second half after a cross fell in the middle of the penalty area, which allowed Clovis West to pounce on it and score.
Clovis West capitalized on their new-found momentum to take the game into overtime before finding the game-winning goal.