Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera Coyotes girls soccer team surround Jasmin Piñon (22) after she scored the eventual game-winning goal against the Madera South Stallions on Friday in Memorial Stadium.
The Madera Coyotes girls soccer team capitalized on a second half goal to beat next-door neighbor Madera South in a County/Metro Athletic Conference match at Lee DaSilva Field in Memorial Stadium.
After the Coyote boys were thumped by the Stallions the previous day, the lady Coyotes took the game to Madera South and, in the 57th minute, Jasmin Piñon rewarded the Madera faithful.
Although Madera earned a victory over their rivals, the points within the conference mean the most to Madera head coach Cameron Hill said.
“I think it’s more important in the grand scheme of things,” Hill said. “Obviously, when you play your rival you always want to win because of bragging rights, but when it comes to overall, what we want to do by the end of the season, it’s just a good conference win.”
Hill’s counterpart, Madera South head coach Ramon Delgadillo, noted that although his team lost the match, improvement from his team’s last match was the most important takeaway.
“It’s a loss, but we are happy with their performance,” Delgadillo said. “We had opportunities, but we couldn’t capitalize. It could’ve gone either way. For both sides it was a good game.”
After Madera’s Mia Alvarez was pushed down on 35-yard line, she earned a free kick well within her striking distance. Alvarez had the distance and power, but the Stallions’ keeper, Makayla Martinez was all over it.
Madera might’ve had their best chance with Anyssa Garcia after she floated a ball from 18 yards out. The ball bounced through the hands of Stallions keeper Makayla Martinez and into the path of Yvette Zuniga, who shot point blank and missed. She had another opportunity go awry after her second attempt bounced off the post and out of bounds.
Madera’s Noemi Cabello made a darting run down the right wing early in the half searching for her fellow Coyotes, but couldn’t pick out the right pass after the Madera South defense quickly closed her down.
The Stallions may not have had the most chances up front, however their defensive work was important.
The game finally found its goal in the 57th minute after Pinon collected a loose ball in the Stallions’ end. She fired in a left-footed shot that beat Martinez for the score and the crowd erupted at the potential game-winning goal.
Stallions’ Nayeli Garcia tried to respond and sent in a long ball 30 yards down the field to Brielle Bitter, who tried to get a clean shot on goal, but was closed down by the Coyote defense.
Madera South almost sent the game to overtime after the Coyotes keeper Breanna Salazar dropped the ball in the penalty area before a Stallion forward swung frantically at the ball but the ball went wide left by an inch.
Both the teams battled neck-and-neck, but Pinon’s strike sealed the deal for Madera.