Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Miguel Gutierrez controls the ball near the sideline during Wednesday’s match win over Edison.
After a sluggish and sloppy first half, the Madera Coyotes boys soccer team scored three second-half goals to upend the Edison-Fresno Tigers 3-1 in a County/Metro Athletic Conference match in Memorial Stadium.
Despite the rain and swift winds, Madera found their way on the pitch.
“The message was to have Edison match our intensity and not the other way around,” Madera head coach Nic Landeros said. “There was kind of a lackluster energy at first, so we wanted to up that in the second half to get us going and it worked for us.”
Behind three goals from sophomore Jonah Hill, the Coyotes were able to fight off their early struggles for a second victory in the CMAC.
“When we can have two guys — Jonah and Emmanuel Cabello — going for double-digit goals, it shows in the win column,” Landeros said. “I’m so happy for him (Hill) because he’s only a sophomore so he’s only going to get better. He’s an outstanding player and we’re lucky to have him.”
The underclassman turned the game on its head in the second half. His confidence in front of goal allowed the Coyotes to take their chances in the opponent final area. This season, Hill has nine goals and five in his last two matches.
The game started off back and forth without any team taking advantage over the other. A combination of poor weather and lackluster energy contributed to a slow and conservative first half.
The second half kicked off and the sparks began to fly.
Hill had his first chance early in the second half after he took a chance near the opponent penalty area. The sophomore fired low towards the corner, but narrowly missed as the Madera crowd collectively exhaled.
Along with Hill, Ryan Da Rocha proved to be a thorn in the Tigers’ side as his constant energy and hustle in midfield provided the Coyotes with an outlet to push the ball down the pitch. His most important moment came midway through the second half.
The Coyotes found their opener 15 minutes into the second half after William Bispham dribbled into the box where he let loose a powerful shot towards the Edison goalkeeper. The ball was blocked, but into the direction of Hill, who had an open net to shoot into. Hill converted the shot and gave Madera its first lead of the game.
That was short lived after the Tigers tied the game shortly after.
Da Rocha made his mark on the game to break the tie. The midfielder orchestrated a clever corner routine that found Hill open in the middle of the penalty area where he dispatched the ball for the Coyotes’ second goal.
With the game within reach, the Coyotes needed to kill the game. With two goals already in the bag, Hill wanted more.
In the final minutes of the game with a one-goal lead, the Coyotes pressed the Tigers in their own half. With the help of Miguel Gutierrez and a little team pressure, Hill capitalized on poor defending in the opponent final third after Gutierrez found him wide open in the center of the box for the easy tap in.
Gutierrez took the ball into the corner to waste time, but found Hill wide open as the Tigers came to close him down.
Despite Madera not being at their best, they dug deep and found a positive result.
“Before we scored the second and third goal, I told my assistant coach that we kind of had an off night in terms of finishing, but to not have a good performance and still score three goals, shows the teams ability to turn the page and forget about the previous play,” Landeros said. “They continued to work and push forward and find those opportunities in the back of the net. We’re really happy with where we’re at.”