Coyotes beat Knights, ready to take the next step
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s William Bispham is congratulated after scoring the game’s lone goal Tuesday.
Like all teams in Madera, pre-season training was not ideal.
For the Madera Coyotes boys soccer team, they’ve found a way to not only maneuver around the challenges, but also thrive.
So far in 2021 County/Metro Athletic Conference play, the Coyotes are 2-1 after a 2-1 loss to Madera South, a 6-0 victory over the Edison-Fresno Tigers and finally, Tuesday’s 1-0 victory against the Bullard-Fresno Knights.
Led by first-half goal scorer William Bispham and provider Elmer Garcia, the Coyotes bounced the Bullard Knights and now have not conceded a goal in two games.
Garcia won the ball from a Bullard Knight at midfield after a good, clean tackle. Landeros had his players up front switching roles, allowing the Coyotes to open the Knights defense. This tactic allowed Garcia to find Bispham, who was 25 yards away from goal, in the Knights final third.
Bispham collected the pass from Garcia, controlled it first, touched it towards the center of the Bullard final third before unleashing a strong shot that cleared the Bullard keeper’s head and just under the crossbar. Bispham’s right-footed shot proved to be the game winner as the Coyotes kept the Knights off the scoresheet.
Madera has built a foundation over the years under head coach Nic Landeros, but the Coyotes want more.
“I think now our program is ready to take that next step forward. We need to start competing for league titles. We have the strong foundation underneath us now and we feel like we can produce players that have the necessary skills to be successful in this league,” Landeros said. “We are aiming to get over the hump and start winning league titles. That is the goal for us.”
After Edison beat Sanger on Tuesday night and with Madera South losing to San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno, the Coyotes now sit at the top of the CMAC standings.
The Coyotes face off with Memorial on the road Thursday night with the top spot in the CMAC on the line.
However, beating Bullard to set up this chance wasn’t easy, especially after Madera starting goalkeeper Chris Arias was unable to go after pregame. Backup goalkeeper Ivan Ovando stepped into with only a few varsity starts under his belt.
Ovando took his place between the sticks and delivered a commanding performance with three important saves that kept the Madera clean sheet alive.
“He came up big. There was a one on one that he was able to carry over the crossbar, another there was a low, hard shot across the face of the goal. He was able to get his finger tips on the ball while a Bullard player was going to the back post, he got enough on it to keep it away from the forward,” Landeros said.
That wasn’t all as he made another important save with five minutes remaining in the match.
Combined with a stout backline, Ovando and goal scorer Bispham, along with playmaking efforts from Garcia proved to be enough as the Coyotes clawed past the Knights.