Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Brielle Bitter battles with a Sanger opponent during Wednesday’s 1-0 overtime loss.
The Madera South Stallions girls’ soccer team endured a physically-played match against the Sanger Apaches, but came up short in overtime at Lee DaSilva Field in Memorial Stadium.
The Stallions and Apaches battled through a tough 80 minutes, but both teams couldn’t find the answer before Sanger broke through with a goal in overtime in the County/Metro Athletic Conference opener for both teams Wednesday.
Madera South goalkeeper Kayla Gutierrez did her best in the opening period with multiple tough saves. Her rock-solid form in the net helped keep the game neck-and-neck against a .500 Apaches squad.
After battling throughout the first 30 minutes, Madera South put some pressure on the Apaches’ back line with less than 10 minutes to play.
Nayeli Garcia offered the Stallions hope with an indirect free kick from about 30 yards out. Garcia sized up the wall facing her and fired in a powerful shot. The ball swerved and sailed over the wall, missing the top crossbar by a few yards.
Both teams entered the break scoreless.
Madera South had their chances but not until the end. Anai Casillas and Jasmine Salazar linked up towards the end of regulation but couldn’t find the right connection. Casillas lobbed a ball on goal, but the ball bounced directly into the keeper hands. Salazar stretched but couldn’t latch onto the searching pass.
Tied at zero, both squads headed to overtime looking for that elusive conference victory.
The first overtime period opened with a sluggish start, but almost saw the Stallions take the lead.
Brielle Bitter had a chance in the first overtime period with a darting run down the middle of the pitch. She tried to collect a long ball forward, but was unable to. Madera South caught the Apaches flat footed, but couldn’t capitalize.
Although the Stallions had the first chance in overtime, the Apaches only needed one shot.
Sanger’s Maddie Mata made a smart run into a crowded box before Audrey Reyna fired in a whipped cross. The ball found the head of Mata, who directed the ball at keeper Gutierrez, who deflected ball into the back of the net.
Madera South couldn’t generate enough attacking threat to make a difference in the final minutes.