Coyotes eager for new season
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Adela Alvarez works to get a kick up he field during a 2-0 home opening loss to the Clovis Cougars on Thursday.
The Madera Coyotes girls soccer team’s home opener didn’t go as planned as they dropped an evening contest, 2-0, to the Clovis Cougars, but after a strong, gritty performance, the Coyotes are trending up.
From the first whistle to the end, the Coyotes showcased an aggressive and fearless attitude that bodes well for the battles to come. As many areas are still locked down due to COVID-19 protocols, the Coyotes are finding themselves playing Clovis schools that sit in a higher division.
But Madera head coach Cameron Hill believes the girls can only gain experience and after Thursday’s loss to Clovis.
“It was good to get back out here and I know the girls really enjoyed it too,” Hill said. “It would’ve been nice to have more fans, but we understand why. It’s part of high school sports, having your classmates and family cheering you on, but we are happy to be out here.”
Three games into the season and the first at home, the Coyotes look to build under Hill’s leadership.
Despite the score line, there were many positives to take away from the match, including signs of what could be a stout backline for the Coyotes. Not only that, but the entire team itself looks able and ready to fight for the Coyotes’ crest.
“The scoreboard is good in our sense because they had most of the pressure and they made it hard for us to get out, but our defense as a whole played solid,” Hill said. “We were moving, we were tackling and we were getting in shape, so I felt like we had a solid defensive side of the game.
“It’s just when we win the ball, we had to get out of the pressure. That was more of the issue, but it was just one of those games where we didn’t see a lot of the ball.”
The Coyotes opened their account at home after two games on the road. Madera settled for a 1-1 draw with the Liberty Hawks and then earned another draw, 2-2 against the Clovis East Timberwolves.
Although early in the season and fresh off a long pause in terms of training and tactical preparation, the Coyotes showed that off talent alone, they can play with anybody.
Although a lone goal in favor of Clovis marked the first half, the back and forth between the two teams told the story of the match.
Madera’s backline and midfield stood up tall to the challenge, especially goalkeeper Adriana Dana.
Goalkeepers are often graded on one thing, how many goals are allowed in the match, but for the Madera Coyote goalkeeper, her communication and poise at the back gave the home team a steady presence throughout.
Dana grabbed the highlight of the night with four saves in a matter of minutes. If Thursday’s match told the Coyote faithful anything, goals are going to be hard to come by with Dana between the posts.
The Coyotes began to make strides in the second half as the Cougars backline began to lose concentration. A penalty call early in the second half gave Clovis a 2-0 lead, but Madera continued to chip away looking to get back into the match.
As the second half waned and the Coyotes were rebuffed trying to get forward, Madera had their best chance of the match as a free kick just outside the Cougar box allowed Madera to put targets in the box.
The free kick narrowly found its target as the Clovis defender rose up to knock the ball back to the Clovis goalkeeper.
A lack of concentration allowed the Coyotes to pounce on a loose ball yards from an open net. The ball ricocheted off the Clovis goalkeeper, heading out of bounds for a corner, but Coyote Samantha Ruiz shot into the frame and confidently swung her boot through the ball, narrowly missing the ball and the net.
Madera earned the corner but couldn’t muster a shot on target.
The Coyotes continued to claw and scratch at the Cougar defense, but on this day Clovis was able to keep the Coyotes in check, despite the mental lapses and penalty call early in the second half the changed the complexity of the game.
Madera doesn’t have any time to fret as a busy soccer season awaits.