The Madera Coyotes girls soccer team earned a credible 1-1 draw with the San Juaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers after equalizing late on a 30-yard free kick at Lee DaSilva Field in Memorial Stadium.
“It’s frustrating,” Madera head coach Cameron Hill said. “We did enough to win and we gave up another penalty and then, in front of goal, we just didn’t have the composure to finish off the game. I thought we were better. We had better chances and more possession, but we didn’t score so, I guess, that’s how it goes.”
Although the game only featured two goals, one being a penalty shot, the Coyotes had more than their share of chances. Hill said he never believed in being unlucky and put the responsibility squarely on his girls’ shoulders.
“I think it was a lack of concentration, I’m not much of the unlucky camp,” Hill said. “I think in front of goal, it takes a lot of composure and technique. Just knowing what you’re doing up front and just having that wherewithal to just strike the ball on goal.”
Madera might’ve had more opportunities, however, their lone goal came off a brilliant strike by Brook Gill. After the Coyotes earned a free kick, Hill’s decision to put Gil on the kick proved worthwhile.
“It was a great strike,” Hill said. “Mia usually takes our free kicks, but Brooke took some good ones in practice. I said, ‘You know what Brooke, just go over there and shoot it.’ It makes me look like a great coach. We really needed it.”
The Coyotes opened the match eyeing a conference victory. Their attacking came early and often.
Jasmin Piñon darted down the left wing early in the first half with her eyes surveying the pitch for her teammates. She created space down the wing before launching a ball to the back post where Mariah Zapata hit it with her head. Although she contacted the ball, she couldn’t direct it on target.
Madera wasn’t be finished, however. After the Panthers’ keeper fumbled a save in the box, Noemi Cabello pounced on the ball and, unfortunately, booted it over the goal.
Clarissa Gil had the Coyotes’ best chance in the first half after she sprinted onto a ball cleared down the field.
Although two Panthers forced her into a bind, she accelerated past them to collect the ball. Just as she tried to take a shot, the keeper smothered the ball, ending any threat.
Madera looked to be the better side for the majority of the match, although the Panthers scratched first. After the Panthers attacker was brought down in the box, Memorial keeper Emily Cunha stepped up and fired away to give her team the lead.
With only a few minutes remaining and the game in doubt, Gill stepped up and saved her team.
The Coyotes won a free kick outside the box from 20 yards out. Gill sized up the wall and sent in a swerving strike to beat the Panthers keeper.
Gil brought her team back with only five minutes remaining in the match.
On a frustrating night in terms of shots on goal, the Coyotes ran down he pitch to embrace the goal scorer.
After the regulation ended at one a piece, the two teams went to overtime where a winner couldn’t be decided.
Madera and Memorial traded counters in the end, however neither could grab the advantage.