Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Klarissa Ramos battles with a Bullard defender for possession during Thursday’s 2-0 loss.
The Madera Coyotes girls soccer team stayed with the Bullard Knights for most of the match, but couldn’t find the equalizing goal and eventually fell 2-0 in County/Metro Athletic Conference play.
The Coyotes and head coach Cameron Hill received a scare five minutes into the second half when leading scorer and team captain Itzel Rodriguez went down in a heap and looked to be in a lot of pain.
“Itzel is a big player for us,” Hill said. “Having her out doesn’t help. She hurt her shoulder and will be okay. She should be fine. I think she was cautious about it and should be ready to go next week.”
Rodriguez said she got her arm hooked with her Bullard defender and it was pulled when Rodriguez fell to the turf. She said she was more scared because she heard a pop. However, Rodriguez later returned to the match, albeit nursing her injured left shoulder. She said she should be ready for Madera’s next match Tuesday.
However, that wasn’t the only scare Hill received. Sweeper and defensive leader/captain Noemi Cabello fell in a heap and screamed in pain. However, Cabello lost her breath on a blow to her midsection. She left the match, but later returned at the next opportunity.
“Once you get into conference play, it gets a little more physical,” Hill said. “The kids know each other well so the physicality builds up.”
The tone was set midway through the first half. Bullard got the ball in front after Madera couldn’t clear a ball. The attacker sent a 20-yard shot on goal that went over goalkeeper Lilly Ascencio’s head.
“After their goal, I think we played better,” Hill said. “We couldn’t sustain possession enough. I think we had opportunities, though. We couldn’t sustain pressure until the end of the second half until they got their second goal.”
Both teams didn’t have a chance in the rest of the first half as the fog was starting to set.
With it difficult to see the other end of the field, the Coyotes tried to bounce back after their captains’ injuries.
In the 25th minute, Elizabeth Vasquez was the victim of a hard foul. After she was carried off the field, Klarissa Ramos had a free kick from about 25 yards out. Her shot went wide left.
A minute later, Penelopi Leach got the ball in front. She shot on goal with the goalkeeper coming out. The ball was blocked to the left. Rodriguez hit the ball on the bounce and the ball went just wide to the right.
In the 33rd minute, Mia Perez had a hard shot on goal go just wide to the left.
Two minutes later, Madera had a free kick from about 20 yards out. The ball went to the keeper and she caught the ball before Madera knocked her down.
In the final minutes, Rodriguez and Ramos had shots cleared out.
Later, in extra time, Bullard put the game on ice with an insurance goal for the victory.