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Sanger proves too much for Coyotes

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera’s Robbie Niino rises up for a pass during Tuesday’s loss to Sanger. He scored two goals to lead the Coyotes.


Things were looking bright for the Madera Coyote boys water polo team after tying the score midway through the second period against the Sanger Apaches.

However, Sanger closed the first half with three goals, including one as the time ran out for a 6-3 lead. The Apaches then closed out the game outscoring Madera 5-2 in the second half for an 11-4 victory in McAlister Pool on Tuesday.

“Our problem was they countered on us the whole time and we weren’t able to stop that,” head coach Rick Martines said. “I have a group of young guys with their first year on the varsity level. Their anticipation wasn’t there. Once we were able to stop their counter, they weren’t able to do anything. We watched a little too much. We weren’t getting off too many shots. We were a little intimidated by them pressing so much and worrying about their counterattack.”

Robby Niino led the team with two goals, but sat the third quarter because of two ejection fouls (A third would have resulted in a disqualification). Conner Huber and Blake Favors added goals for the Coyotes.

“We know where our holes are,” Martines said. “We will work in practice to get that game-like scenario going. We’ll keep working harder to get them next time. We just weren’t on today. I believe in those guys as long as we keep working hard. We need to speed up our game. Next time, we have to get them.”

Sanger put the pressure on the Coyotes early and often, scoring three goals before Madera got on the scoreboard.

With 15 seconds left in the first, Huber got the ball on a man-advantage and shot from the right into the upper right corner of the goal for a 3-1 Sanger lead.

After a save by Madera goalie Kyle Balbas, Niino drew a five-meter shot and scored into the bottom right corner.

Another Balbas block led to a Madera man advantage. Niino shot by the arms of the Sanger defender to tie the game at three.

The Apaches scored on a breakaway, a man-advantage and on a buzzer beater for a 6-3 lead at the half.

Sanger scored on another breakaway to open the second half scoring.

Madera immediately countered. Favors drew a penalty and got a quick shot inside with a shot to the left side of the goal to cut the lead to three midway through the third period.

Madera had a chance entering the fourth period, but the Apaches scored four goals in the first three minutes to put the game out of reach for an 11-4 victory.


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