The San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers girls soccer team continued its undefeated season as they dominated the pitch in a 9-2 win over the Madera South Stallions at Memorial Stadium.
Behind hat-tricks from Nadia Flores and Karina Gonzalez, the Panthers scored four goals in the first half and five goals in the second.
Samantha Montes and Logan Nidy also contributed in the win with a combined three goals. As a team, the Panthers’ cohesion and confidence from long range allowed them to take control of the game early.
The Panthers recorded seven assists on nine goals. Their ability to work the ball around exposed the Stallions’ back line far too often. Their tendency to shoot from distance caused issues for both Stallion goalkeepers — Jatzelle Salazar and Melani Rinder.
The Madera South goalkeepers stood strong despite the adversity but couldn’t overcome the barrage of shots from the Panthers. Whether up close or from afar, the Panthers were clinical in front of goal.
While the Panthers came out on top in the end, the Stallions had a few bright spots.
For Madera South, scoring two goals on a team that had allowed only six in 17 games is a feat. Kayla Gutierrez, singlehandedly, carried the Stallions after she bagged two goals in what was a struggle to find chances.
After the Panthers opened the match with two goals in the opening 15 minutes, the Stallions responded in the 20th minute.
Gutierrez dribbled into the opponent final third before finding enough space for a shot. The ball had both the accuracy and power needed to beat the stingy Panther goalkeeper.
Her goal was the only bright spot in a dark and gloomy first half.
The Panthers amassed a 4-1 lead and never looked back.
Memorial scored four goals without reply in the second half to lead 8-1.
Faced with what seemed like certain defeat, Gutierrez continued to work, and it paid off in the 55th minute. Gutierrez provided another piece of brilliance as she led the Stallions into the Panthers final third where she took control.
The midfielder took advantage of her space on the outside of the box and sent the ball low past the goalkeeper and in for her second goal of the game.