Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Noemi Alfaro controls the ball away from a San Joaquin Memorial Panthers’ defender during Wednesday’s match. Alfaro scored the second of Madera South’s two goals in a 4-2 loss.
The San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers girls soccer team used a three-goal burst in the first half for a 4-2 victory over the Madera South Stallions in County/Metro Athletic Conference play.
The Stallions had high hopes early in the match, getting a goal 30 seconds in. However, San Joaquin Memorial tied the match in the 14th minute and then scored three goals in an eight minute span for the win.
“After the direct kick went in, they got a little discouraged and we played sloppy,” head coach Ramon Delgadillo said. “We couldn’t connect passes. We started to struggle attacking. We had opportunities, but couldn’t finish it.”
The Stallions added a goal in the 32nd minute, but the Panthers responded and held on in the second half for the win.
“We created in the second half, but they were so desperate to get back into the game, they didn’t capitalize,” Delgadillo said. “The way we played in the second half, playing in our zone, was how we practiced. I don’t know what happened on those three goals.”
Andrea Vasquez and Noemi Alfaro scored goals for the Stallions.
Vasquez’s goal came on the first shot in the first seconds of the match. She got a through-ball by the Memorial defense and sent a 15-yard shot on goal. She sent it from the left to the opposite upper corner for the goal and the early lead.
In the eighth minute, Madera South’s Jameela Sanchez sent a through ball to Autumn Moreno on the right, but her shot hit the outside of the net.
The Panthers tied the score in the 14th minute. Memorial drew a foul just outside the goalkeeper’s box in the middle. They sent a shot into the left side of the net by a diving Melani Rinder to tie the match.
The Panthers took the lead for good in the 27th minute. The Panthers got a long ball by three Madera South defenders. The Panthers’ attacker took the ball to the front and shot into the right corner by an oncoming Rinder.
Memorial added to its lead in the next minute. On another long ball to the front, an attacker got behind the Stallions’ defense and took the ball to the right. Rinder came out to challenge, but the shot went by her into the left side of the net for a 3-1 lead.
The Stallions battled back four minutes later. Brianna Maciel, on the right, sent a long ball to the front. The ball bounced over a Panthers’ defender and to Alfaro behind her. Alfaro touched a shot over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net for a 3-2 Panthers’ lead.
However, the Panthers closed the first half with another shot on goal in the 35th minute. The Panthers got the ball at the top with a defender closing in. The Panthers’ attacker turned and shot on goal into the right side of the net for a 4-2 halftime lead.
“Our center middles were pulling up too much and leaving the back gate wide open,” Delgadillo said. “We adjusted with some people in the second half and we started playing better. It was just a little too late.”
The Stallions couldn’t get anything going in the final 40 minutes despite numerous opportunities to find the back of the net.