Coyotes race past Panthers
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Elias Zuniga, right, congratulates Dylan Castro (11) after he scored a goal Wednesday night. Zuniga also scored a goal in a 5-3 victory over San Joaquin Memorial.
The past few matches, the Madera Coyotes boys soccer team has lacked the teeth up front. However, those concerns were erased in a matter of minutes as the Coyotes upended the San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers 5-3.
Not only a big win for the Coyotes, but a statement was made just 30 minutes into the match as the Coyotes scored all five goals before the halftime whistle.
“We dissected film from the last few games and we saw a constant variable in all the games. With Joad (Enriquez-Blanco), he’s been making really good runs in behind the shoulders of defenders, but we weren’t finding him,” Madera head coach Nic Landeros said. “We wanted to reward him for all of his hard work.”
In a training session early this week, the team put an emphasis not just on teamwork in the final third, but getting Enriquez-Blanco more involved.
It’s safe to say it worked as the Coyote forward scored three goals in the span of 15 minutes.
Enriquez-Blanco opened the scoring in the fourth minute and the floodgates opened in the Panthers’ back line.
The Coyotes were quicker with the ball, stronger in the tackle and, above all, clinical in front of goal.
Dylan Castro and Elias Zuniga completed the five-goal night for the Coyotes just two minutes apart in the 27th and 29th minute.
Madera smelled blood in the water and, unfortunately for the Panthers, the Coyotes never let up.
“For them to get those goals, they now have confidence in their ability to find the back of the net. Last night things fell in place for us and I feel like we did a lot of positive things,” Landeros said.
On top of the three different goal scorers, the Coyotes had four different players record an assist including Elmer Garcia, who finished the game with two.
Angel Segovia, Garcia, Zuniga and Enriquez-Blanco all chipped in during the Coyotes’ 5-3 victory and provided a spark to a team that had dropped their previous match in a close affair against neighbors Madera South.
“The boys have a lot to be proud about against a strong program like Memorial. The boys showed they can play with anyone and it is a good feeling to get the goals in the back of the net,” Landeros said. “This can be a positive for the team in the next matches definitely.”
Enriquez-Blanco got the ball rolling in the fourth minute before tacking on two more goals before the halfway mark of the first half.
The Coyotes continued to pour it on as Castro and Zuniga each etched their name on the scoresheet.
But despite the Coyotes’ offense running wild, the Panthers were not going away.
“Memorial really took advantage of their dead-ball freekicks, but they didn’t score in the run of play. We told the boys to stay focused in the match,” Landeros said.
The Panthers scored two goals in the first half, but it was already a tough match for the visitors.
Down 5-2 at the end of the first half, the Panthers had a mountain to climb, but fortunately for the Coyotes, their defense stood strong throughout.
Memorial scored on a third free kick in the second half, but by then the Coyotes were in control of the match.
After three straight losses to Sanger, Madera South and Edison, the Coyotes are now back in the winning column.