Coyotes fall to CMAC foe
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Brooklyn Reeves rises up for a shot attempt during Tuesday’s Div. III semifinal loss to San Joaquin Memorial. She led the team with three goals in the 9-7 loss.
With one game in their way for a berth in the Div. III Central Section Championship game, the Madera Coyotes girls water polo had to get by a familiar foe that they beat twice during the County/Metro Athletic Conference season — San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno.
However, with their top scorer fouling out in the fourth period, the fifth-seeded Coyotes were held scoreless in the fourth period and the 16th-seeded Panthers scored a pair of goals for a 9-7 win Tuesday in McAlister Pool.
The Coyotes had plenty of shots on goal, but it seemed like the goal cage wasn’t their friend as many shots hit off the post or the crossbar to keep their attempts to get back into the game at bay.
“Sometimes, the shots can be bad luck,” head coach Ashlee Gibbs said. “Once we got to the end of the game, the panic and excitement mixed in so they shot as hard as they could without regards to their placement. It was a combination of a few things that got to us, but I’m still proud of them.”
Leading scorer Marisol Alvarez fouled out early in the fourth period and starter Payge Cruz fouled out in the second period and it tested the Coyotes’ depth. Madera took a 7-5 lead in the third period, but was outscored 4-0 the rest of the match.
“We had one of our starters go out in the second quarter and another in the fourth,” Gibbs said. “It hurts. Those are the ones that aren’t afraid to shoot. The other girls like to pass to those girls. They can fire it, but the nerves get to them because they aren’t used to taking the shots.”
Brooklyn Reeves led the Coyotes with three goals. Alvarez scored two and Hargun Mahl and Alanah Resendez added goals.
The Panthers got on the scoreboard first, but it took more than three minutes to score with a long shot inside the far post.
Just 18 seconds later, Reeves got the ball on the left and shot under the arm of the Memoral goalie inside the near post to tie the match.
The Panthers scored on another long shot less than a minute later for a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
After Madera goalie Leah Resendez made a save, the Coyotes came back to tie the score when Resendez found Reeves on a breakaway. Reeves stopped and passed to the middle for Alvarez, who scored with a backhanded shot.
Resendez made a save on a high shot, but the Panthers got the rebound and shot over her head for a 3-2 lead.
Just 16 seconds later, Madera earned a penalty shot. Alvarez’s shot went off the crossbar, but she got her own rebound and shot inside the right post to tie the score at three.
A minute later, Alvarez got the ball in front and she passed out to the right for Alanah Resendez, who shot inside the near post for a 4-3 lead.
Leah Resendez made a pair of long shot saves in the next minute before Memorial connected on a high shot inside the far post to tie the match at four.
Reeves got the ball near mid-pool and shot into the left corner for a goal to give Madera a 5-4 lead at the half.
Just 28 seconds into the second half, Mahl got the ball in the middle and shot on goal. The ball went off the goalie’s hand and into the back of the net for a goal and a 6-4 lead.
The Panthers came back a minute later with a breakaway goal.
However, the Coyotes responded when Reeves found the upper left corner for a 7-5 lead with 4:32 left in the game. However, that would be the final Madera goal for the rest of the match.
Less than a minute later, Madera turned the ball over in front of Resendez and the Panthers scored to cut the lead to one. The Panthers tied the match at seven with a penalty shot goal with 32 seconds left in the third.
The Panthers took the lead 47 seconds into the fourth with a shot inside the far post. They added to the lead with a ball in front and a goal past Resendez for a 9-7 lead.
Meanwhile, the Coyotes kept hitting either the post, crossbar or the goalie’s hands and couldn’t get on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.