Injuries continue to hamper Coyotes soccer

The year ends on a sour note for the Madera Coyote girls soccer team with a a non-conference loss to Central Grizzlies-Fresno.

The Grizzlies put two past Coyotes goalkeeper Jessica Diaz in the first half and a third in the second half for the 3-0 victory Wednesday afternoon.

“It went okay, we were just so naïve with set pieces,” head coach Cameron Hill said. “We got scored on a corner kick, free kick and the stuff that we’ve been working on, defending set pieces and then we get scored on them because just not marking so that’s just disappointing.

“Overall gameplay, I thought it was pretty even for the most part but that’s soccer though. If you don’t defend set pieces and you get scored on and that’s the game, you lose 3 to 0.”

Injuries have been the constant so far this season, Hill stated. With multiple starters out of the game, the Coyotes had to rely on backups and junior varsity players for their matchup against a healthier and stronger Central team.

“It’s been an ongoing thing, we’ve got a few back today,” Hill said. “We still have about four or five girls out, three of them starters. So it’s just been a struggle. It’s kinda been an injury-ridden season so far so we’re just trying to get everyone back healthy.”

The Grizzlies opened the scoring in the first minute off a free kick delivered into the box. The Coyotes failed to clear the ball leading to Central’s quick start.

Although the Coyotes were down 1-0, Mia Alvarez was a spark in the midfield. Alvarez demonstrated her speed down the right wing sending in a low cross, easily handled by the Central goalkeeper in the 37th minute.

Brooke Gill and Samantha Valencia demonstrated great combination play early in the first half in the opponents final third, however the attack fizzled out.

The Grizzlies scored again in the first half on a back-post header to increase their lead by two goals. The lack of marking their opponents led to an early 2-0 deficit.

The Coyotes escaped a 3-0 deficit in the 25th minute when Diaz made a save to keep her team in the game. Diaz left her lines to make a daring save in the penalty area.

Diaz later came to the rescue once more in the 15th minute when she saved a Central penalty keeping the score at 2-0.

The second half was controlled by the Central Grizzlies after they scored on a free-kick rebound in the 32nd minute. The ball was blocked by Diaz but it fell to a Central attacker who converted to open the half.

The Coyotes had a few opportunities in the second half coming from the great play of Alvarez. She had her best opportunity after she shook off her defender and fired from 15 yards out narrowly missing to the goalkeeper’s right in the 25th minute.

Alvarez later fired in a free kick on target that was punched out for a corner. Her great play in the loss earned high praise from her head coach.

“She played really well, that was probably one of the best games she’s played,” Hill said. “She’s a junior and she’s been on varsity since she was a freshman. She really showed her quality today, I thought she definitely was the queen of the midfield. She bossed the midfield and so we are happy about that.”

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