Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Itzel Rodriguez controls the ball in the midfield. She sparked an upset attempt with two goals and an assist, but Edison won in overtime 4-3 on Thursday.
The Madera Coyotes girls soccer team welcomed the top-ranked Edison-Fresno Tigers into Memorial Stadium for a County/Metro Athletic Conference clash.
The two teams faced off during the first half of CMAC where the Tigers came away with a 5-0 victory, but this time around, the Coyotes pushed the Tigers to the brink in a 4-3 loss in overtime Thursday.
Itzel Rodriguez and Klarissa Ramos combined for three goals, including two free-kick goals by Rodriguez, in the first half. Rodriguez is the Coyotes’ leading goal scorer with 17 and also notched an assist for Ramos’ goal.
“Itzel creates moments in matches that are special, and she did it again tonight,” Madera head coach Cameron Hill said.
Edison, on the other hand, had four different scorers. Abigail Borchers, Ariana Fischer, Eliana Salazar and Alysah Haddad each got on the score sheet to propel the Tigers to their sixth CMAC win of the season.
The Coyotes opened the match on the wrong foot. The Tigers lept to an early 1-0 lead and almost made it 2-0 shortly after.
“The thing is, we didn’t start too well because they scored first and also had another opportunity, but Yesenia Montoya kept us in the game with a big save,” Hill said. “I think that brought us to life and from that moment we took control for the next 20 minutes.”
Madera took control behind a goal from Ramos, after Rodriguez used her playmaking ability to find her teammate for the shot, but also from two free kicks by Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s ability to combine power and accuracy was too much for Edison’s goalkeeper.
“We haven’t spent as much time as I’ve liked to (on free kicks), but Itzel can strike a ball as well as anyone and she hit two great ones,” Hill said.
The first, Rodriguez took a short run before sending her right-footed shot through the wall from about 25 yards out. The ball flew past the Edison defenders and past the outstretched arm of the goalkeeper.
Rodriguez took a second chance in the Edison final third after her right-footed shot whizzed past the Edison defenders and into the goal. Her second goal was the fourth time this season she has scored at least two in a match and Rodriguez continued her goal-scoring streak to three games.
Madera had the advantage heading into the break leading 3-1, but an early goal in the second half by the Tigers changed the complexity of the match.
“They got an early second half goal so they got their belief back and we knew they wouldn’t go down easy,” Hill said.
Edison rebounded in the second half for two goals. They rallied on both sides of the pitch as they were able to keep Rodriguez from finding too much space in the final third, but also find space for their forwards in Madera’s end.
Edison’s two goals sent the game into overtime where a penalty kick in the final half of overtime allowed the Tigers to take the game.
Even though the Coyotes played the top-ranked team in the CMAC to the very limit, they are still lacking that little something to take them over the edge. Luckily for the Coyotes, there is still plenty of time to right the ship and get back to Coyote soccer.
“The biggest thing is belief that we can turn it around and play with confidence,” Hill said. “We know it won’t be easy, but this team never gives up. For us to take the next step it will have to be to put a complete game together for all 80 minutes with minimal lapses of concentration.”