Tyler Takeda/The madera Tribune
Madera’s Blake Favors rises up for a shot during Tuesday’s loss to San Joaquin Memorial. He scored a pair of goals in a 9-5 loss.
The Madera Coyotes boys water polo team matched the San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers goal-for-goal in the second half, but it was a 4-0 first half that led to a 9-5 Panther’s victory at the McAlister Aquatics Complex.
“SJM runs a really unique defense,” head coach Ryan Martines said. “I have some young boys on my team and it took a while for them to catch up to it. Once I actually explained to them what to do, my boys immediately scored a goal. Until then, they had trouble sticking to the plan.”
Blake Favors scored two goals while Enrique Solis and Garrin Hatfield added a goal apiece to keep pace with the Panthers in the second half.
“They are still a young team,” Martines said. “I only have four seniors and two starters. I have two sophomores and a freshman in goal. They are still learning to play the game. They have those blinders on and I’m trying to remove those. From the beginning of the year, we have seen 100 percent of growth. Every game has been an up trend towards growth.”
The Panthers scored three goals in the first period, including the final one with nine seconds left.
The Madera defense stepped up in the second period and only allowed one goal — a five-meter penalty shot with 16 seconds left — for a 4-0 Memorial lead.
Just 17 seconds into the second half, the Panthers added to their lead.
However, 14 seconds later, the Coyotes finally got on the scoreboard. Favors sent a shot in from the outside into the upper right corner.
Madera cut the lead to three with a goal about four minutes later. Solis drove by his defender and shot high through the Memorial goalie’s arms for the goal.
The Panthers came back with a lob shot goal 14 seconds later and added another lob shot goal a minute later for a 7-2 lead.
Madera scored 17 seconds later with another Favors outside shot to the upper right corner.
The Panthers scored on a breakaway and on a rebound to open a six goal lead with three minutes left.
With another outside shot, William Prim went inside left post for a goal with 1:48 left in the match.
William Magdic sent a long shot on goal, but it hit off the right post, but Hatfield was right there to put the rebound into the back of the net to cut the lead to 9-5 with a minute left in the match.
The Coyotes came up short on two final offensive possessions.