Coyotes come up short in duel against Sanger
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera Coyotes’ goalkeeper Chris Arias makes the catch on a Sanger attempt at goal during Tuesday’s one-goal loss to the Apaches.
The Madera Coyotes boys soccer team came out with a spirited second half effort after falling behind early in its match with the Sanger Apaches.
But it wasn’t enough against powerhouse Sanger, who won 1-0 on Tuesday in Memorial Stadium.
As the Coyotes desperately searched for an equalizer in the final stages, sophomore Isaac Pinedo almost found the breakthrough. But his shot from the left wing sailed just over the bar. Sophomore Axel Parra also took a swing from long distance in crunch time, but his attempt went too high.
Junior goalkeeper Chris Arias, who made several crucial stops throughout the game, came up with two more stellar saves in the final 10 minutes to keep the Coyotes in the game.
Arias rushed out of his goal in the 70th minute to steal the ball from the feet of Sanger’s Cristian Torres, who tried to convert a 1-on-1 opportunity. The junior also came up with a diving save minutes later as the Apaches tried to put the game away.
Still, the Coyotes’ offense failed to find an answer before the final whistle.
“We were just unorganized. A good team like Sanger is going to punish you when you fall asleep,” Madera head coach Nic Landeros said about his team’s start to the game.
The Coyotes, however, stepped up their effort after giving up an early goal to Sanger sophomore Isaiah Villalobos.
“After that point, we cleaned it up. We knew that we can’t allow them to have free headers in the box. They’re going to punish you and put them away,” Landeros said.
Sanger came in as the 2020 CMAC champs, Central Section Div. 2 champs and North region state champs. Landeros said his team may have been initially nervous about facing the Apaches, but they eventually found their composure.
“Maybe because the boys knew (Sanger’s) record and we haven’t seen them yet this year and maybe a little intimidated by the name. But once we got into the game, we can play with them,” Landeros said. “Last week, they were ranked No.1 in the state, so it was so much positive for us to take a game away like this with such a young team that we have.”
Landeros was also thrilled about the performance of his keeper.
“He was big time for us,” the coach said. “You guys see the saves that he makes during the game and we are fortunate enough to see that for two and a half hours every day at training. He commands his box very well, one of the best goalkeepers in the Valley.”