Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Itzel Rodriguez reaches in to try to obtain possession during Thursday’s County/Metro Athletic Conference loss to the San Joaquin Memorial Panthers.
By the time the Madera Coyotes girls soccer team was heading into halftime, they were already trailing the San Joaquin Memorial Panthers 6-0.
However, the Coyotes came out strong in the second half and scored a pair of goals while keeping the Panthers out of the net.
“That’s what we talked about at halftime was to keep them off the scoreboard,” head coach Cameron Hill said. “It got out of hand at halftime. The only goal was to win the second half. That was it.”
The Coyotes got two goals in the final seven minutes of the match to give them momentum into Tuesday’s regular season finale against Madera South.
“It was challenging at first in the match,” senior midfielder Itzel Rodriguez said. “We fought it off and put two in. That’s going to be a really good game. This game leaves us to do better and work on our mistakes.”
“The second half gives us that drive that even though we’re down, we can keep fighting,” Hill said. “We have goals in us, but we have to keep fighting, no matter what.”
One of the highlights was the play of Rodriguez. She scored a goal and added an assist to improve her team-high total to 18 goals and 11 assists in 22 matches.
“I didn’t see this season coming,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not just me. It’s not my whole team. I like scoring the goals. I’m just trying to put a lot into that net.”
In the 33rd minute of the second half, Noemi Cabello got the ball in the middle of the field and sent a through ball to the front inside the Memorial goalkeeper’s box.
Penelopi Leach beat two defenders to the ball and touched it into the back of the net to avoid the shutout.
About six minutes later, Leach got the ball on left and sent a ball on goal. The ball was blocked out to the left side. Rodriguez came in and launched a hard shot into the far right corner for her 18th goal of the season.