Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Destiny Pursell defends against Madera midfielder Mia Alvarez during Wednesday’s match. Alvarez scored the eventual game-winning goal for the Coyotes.
The Madera Coyotes girls soccer team capitalized on a lone second-half goal in a physical match to beat County/Metro Athletic Conference and next-door rivals Madera South 1-0 for the second time this season at Lee DaSilva Field in Memorial Stadium.
Mia Alvarez knocked in the game-winning goal just after halftime on an accurate free kick just outside the penalty area Wednesday night.
“We did what we had to do, we got the chance we needed,” Madera coach Cameron Hill said. “Mia has been reliable. This is her fourth year on varsity. She took it well and scored the goal. It’s always good (to get the win) because I think that when it comes to rivalries, the girls really like it and going back it’s hardly ever where you see one of the teams win two of the games in a year. So for us to do that this year is something special. I hope they recognize that and know we still have work to do.”
When asked if his team was ready for the challenge ahead, there was no doubt in Hill’s mind.
“They know what’s going on, what’s at stake so they are definitely aware of it,” Hill said, confidently.
Madera South came up short for the second time this season, however each match could’ve gone both ways. On a night where seniors were honored and given the starting nod, Madera South captain and senior, Nayeli Garcia, nearly pulled her team to victory.
“I think we played really well, Madera South head coach Ramon Delgadillo said. “Since it was senior night, I played most of my seniors and I thought they did really well. We had a rough season. I’m just really proud of how we improved so much.”
In the closing minutes of the first half, Garcia tried her luck with an audacious strike from 25 yards out. Garcia stole a loose ball from Madera before picking up her head and firing a shot that had the power, however, the accuracy left much to be desired.
The Coyotes, on the other hand, had their best opportunity due to a foul in the box by Garcia. She lunged in and brought down Madera’s Anissa Garcia, forcing the official to blow her whistle for the penalty.
Garcia stepped up to the spot, ready to give her Coyotes the lead. Unfortunately, Madera South keeper Kayla Gutierrez was up to the task. Garcia’s right-footed shot didn’t fool Gutierrez as she dove to he left for the acrobatic save, bringing both the Stallions bench and home section to their feet in appreciation.
Although Madera South battled, a bad tackle just outside the penalty area doomed the home team. Alvarez collected the ball for Madera and sized up the wall. She let loose a powerful right-footed shot that beat the Stallion wall and Gutierrez in the net.
The Stallions had a last-gasp effort, though. With stoppage time running in the second half, Garcia had the Stallions’ best chance of the game. She raced down the center of the pitch, tracking down a loose ball with earnest. She took possession of the ball before the Coyotes pounced. Just as she had enough space for the shot, Madera goalkeeper Breanna Salazar left her line and forced Garcia’s shot over the net and out of bounds to secure Madera’s win.