Coyotes water polo advances to semifinals
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Madera goalie Nicole Gibbs makes a block during Saturday’s 9-3 Div. II quarterfinal victory over Selma.
The second-seeded Madera Coyotes girls water polo team took care of business to advance to today’s quarterfinal match in the Div. II Central Section playoffs.
The Coyotes scored early and held off the seventh-seeded Selma in a 9-3 victory Saturday at the McAlister Aquatics Complex.
“We went up early in the first quarter and a half,” head coach Erik Baymiller said. “We were putting our shots away and did pretty well. They started dropping against us and that held us the rest of the match. It shut us down. We have been working to beat the zone.”
After jumping out to the early lead, the Coyotes were limited in the second half, but still had more than enough for the victory.
“The only frustration was not scoring goals like we should have,” Baymiller said. “Our defense held up pretty well. We played great defense.”
The Coyotes will next host No. 6 Redwood-Visalia, a quarterfinal upset winner over No. 3 Monache-Porterville, today at 5:15 at McAlister Pool.
“We want Madera to come out and be our eighth man,” Baymiller said. “This is the best a Madera team has ever gone. This is our best chance to go to our first Valley Championship match.”
Baymiller urges fans to show up to see one of the best water polo teams to play for the Coyotes.
“These girls are history in the making,” he said. “We just haven’t had this caliber athlete. We haven’t had this caliber of a team with four girls close to Div. I college players.”
Baymiller said that it’s not only because of the talent of the players, but also the experience the players received by playing over the summer.
“It’s not just the experience in Madera High, but also for the girls to play Junior Olympics or club,” he said. “Our entire varsity team has been playing club and have been playing the best girls in California. They are used to this competition. They tend to play up to teams and play to their level and beyond.”