Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Emmanuel Cabello, right, battles with a Clovis defender and the goalkeeper for a shot on goal during a 1-0 win over Clovis. Cabello scored the game’s lone goal to extend Madera’s winning streak to three.
The Madera Coyotes boys soccer team put together a gritty performance to overcome an early season test against the Clovis Cougars.
The Coyotes scored the game’s only goal late in the first half to win 1-0 on Dec. 4 in Memorial Stadium.
Although the Cougars have seen a lot of success in the last few years, the Coyotes were full of confidence going into Tuesday’s matchup.
“This is two years of foundation that we have been putting in,” Madera head coach Nic Landeros said. “This win means a lot because they’re a quality team. Everything that we have been working for is coming to fruition.”
The Coyotes opened the scoring in the 34th minute. That’s when senior Emmanuel Cabello received a cross from the left wing and found the back of the net with a sliding kick.
“Our first goal was a good build up,” Landeros said. “That’s what we practice, building the ball from the back and putting it on the ground. Most of all, being efficient in front of the goal.”
Cabello’s goal came on the Coyotes’ first shot of the game.
“We knew we weren’t gonna get many chance tonight against such a good team from Clovis, but once once we got our chance we were able to capitalize on it,” Landeros said.
Clovis had a chance to take the lead earlier in the first half, but Alexandro Chavez’s penalty kick sailed over the bar.
The Cougars put a shot on target shortly after missing the penalty, but Madera goalkeeper Francisco Segovia was there to make the save.
Segovia made another save later in the first half, blocking Ronnie Rocha’s shot on a counterattack.
“[Segovia] is one of the best goalkeepers in the Valley,” Landeros said. “His technique and his ability in the box to command — not only shot stopping — but his ability to command the defense in front of him, he’s a huge asset for us.”
That Coyotes’ stingy defense continued to frustrate the Cougars in the second half, holding them without a shot on target until the final 10 minutes.
“Defensively we were sound today,” Landeros said. “It was just us being disciplined in the back, big shutout for us.”
As the Cougars threatened in the final minutes, Segovia once again came to the rescue for the Coyotes. The junior made a stop with six minutes left, saving a shot by Connor Graham.
In stoppage time, the Cougars had a chance to tie the game with a freekick. Segovia, however, was able to block the free kick as the ball curved towards the goal.
“We’ve been working hard and wanted to get that team win,” Segovia said. “I had to come through for my team and make key saves.”
The Coyotes extended their winning streak to three-games, improving their record to 3-2.
“It was a huge result for us against a Div. 1 opponent,” Landeros said. “Now we’re on a three-game winning streak. Our first two games were close, so I think we’re climbing over the hump.”