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Coyote boys advance in Div. III water polo playoffs

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Madera’s Jake Martines rises up to score one of his two goals in Wednesday’s playoff win over Hanford West.


Madera Coyote boys water polo coach Rick Martines thought his team should have been given a higher seed in the Div. III playoffs.

Martines’ eight-seeded Coyotes proved that point with a 7-4 victory Wednesday over the Hanford West Huskies, the ninth seed.

Robby Niino and Jake Martines led the Coyotes with two goals each. Garrin Hatfield, Blake Favors and Oscar Ruiz each scored a goal.

“We had it under control,” head coach Rick Martines said. “We didn’t know what to expect. We knew who their two guys were and we shut them down. Our drives were there, but we were a little rusty with our shots. They didn’t have any intensity. Finally, we were playing with our heads up and with integrity. They were hungry and wanted it.”

Madera scored three goals in the first period, but Hanford West added two goals in the second for a 4-2 Coyote lead at the half. Madera added a goal in the third and two more in the fourth for the win.

Goalie Kyle Balbas recorded 14 blocks to key the defense.

“Hanford West was running an iso and we made our switches to run the shot clock down,” Martines said. “We need to work on getting the ball down the pool faster and get our shots off better.”

Madera’s reward for the win is a playoff date today at 2:15 against top seed Edison-Fresno, who defeated Madera easily twice this season.

“We have Edison next and we’ll play the best we can and give them a game,” Martines said.

Niino scored the first goal of the game with a lob shot over the Hanford West goalie less than three minutes into the game.

Just 42 seconds later, Jake Martines, from the outside, shot into the right corner of the net for a 2-0 lead. Only 35 seconds later, the Coyotes got on the scoreboard again.

Off a pass from Niino, Hatfield, on the left, touched the ball into the left corner of the net for a 3-0 lead.

Hanford West finally got on the scoreboard three minutes into the second period on a five-meter penalty shot. The Huskies cut Madera’s lead to one with a goal with 2:26 left in the half.

However, the Coyotes answered 22 seconds later when Martines, on the left, sent a floater of the goalie for a 4-2 halftime lead.

Just 13 seconds into the second half, Madera earned a five-meter penalty shot. Niino shot into the upper right corner for the goal.

Balbas recorded four blocks to close the third quarter with a 5-2 Coyotes’ lead.

After a Balbas save 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, Favors got the ball on the right in a man-up penalty and shot inside the near post for the goal.

Just 21 seconds later, Madera added to its lead. Off a pass from Martines on the right, Ruiz got the ball in the middle. He shot inside the left post for the goal and a 7-2 lead.

A minute-and-a-half later, Hanford West scored under Balbas’ arm to cut the lead to four.

The Huskies scored a goal with 1:42 left in the match. However, Balbas recorded two blocks to close out the match for the win.


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