Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Itzel Rodriguez (10) controls the ball in the midfield against Madera South’s Brianna Velasco. Rodriguez scored all four goals in a victory over the Stallions.
Madera Coyote girls soccer player Itzel Rodriguez’s magical season continues to roll on after a four-goal performance upended next-door rivals Madera South 4-0 at Memorial Stadium.
“The game plan was to stick to what we do best and match them with intensity because I thought no matter what their record is, it was going to be an intense game,” Madera head coach Cameron Hill said. “I thought if we matched them physically, we would be able to play our game, which was pass and move and get in behind because we do have players up front who can make things happen.”
Rodriguez took the plaudits for the four goals, but as a team, the Coyotes worked as a cohesive unit on the pitch to take the County/Metro Athletic Conference victory Thursday night. Klarissa Ramos and Penelope Leach also made an impact with a combined three assists after they helped set up Rodriguez throughout the match.
“Itzel will make special moments happen and she did that tonight,” Hill said. “She got one early and just kept firing and scoring goals.”
The Stallions, on the other hand, came out flat footed and disengaged. Although the plan during the week was given to the players, a different performance was seen.
“I was frustrated because we practiced a certain way and they came out playing differently, way differently,” Madera South head coach Ramon Delgadillo said. “Once they scored the first goal, it got worse because they got more afraid to attack. They settled in defensively, but I tried to move and I tried to adjust, but I got no response.”
The action started early in the rivalry matchup as the Coyotes drew first blood through their main goal-scoring threat — Rodriguez.
She found space in the seventh minute from 25 yards out before taking a chance at the Madera South goal.
The ball flew towards the goal with pace and accuracy, but was deflected by a Stallion defender, which allowed the ball to fly into the net. The Coyotes took an early lead and continued to push the Stallions defense.
Madera found the net for the second time in the half in the 34th minute after Rodriguez made a dynamite run in the Madera South penalty area. She skipped past two defenders before capitalizing on a lucky deflection after the last Stallion defender was unable to clear the ball from her feet.
Rodriguez now had an opportunity against the Jatzelle Salazar, and she finished with no problem, pushing the lead to two goals.
The Coyotes’ pace and vision were too much for the Stallions to handle.
Rodriguez almost had a third goal in the half after she caught out Madera South on the counter.
Rodriguez pushed into the Madera South final third, bolting past a defender. Rodriguez found space just out inside the penalty area but was denied by Salazar, who stood strong on her line.
Although Rodriguez couldn’t finish that third chance, Madera went into halftime leading 2-0 and never looked back.
For the Stallions, a goalkeeper change was in order as freshman Melani Rinder entered the game and immediately made a strong save.
Rinder stayed strong on her lines as she denied Rodriguez from long range to keep the score intact.
Her save led to a chance for Madera South after Celeste Dorado passed to Kristy Alvarez downfield but couldn’t convert the chance after the shot was blocked by Madera goalkeeper Lilly Ascencio.
Ramos made it 3-0 after she called her own number and made an aggressive move into the box where she shot at Rinder. Rinder deflected the ball, but back into the path of Rodriguez, who converted the shot for her third goal.
Madera had the game wrapped up in the second half, but was determined to see the game out.
Leach made her impact on the game after she recovered a ball inside the opponent area before dribbling into the box where she found Rodriguez with space for a shot. She received the pass and fired high past Rinder for the goal.