Coyotes tame Stallions in CMAC opener
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Angelina Martinez, left, congratulates Atiana Pinon after Pinon scored the first goal of Tuesday’s match with Madera South. Mariah Zapata and Adriana Dana added goals in the 3-1 victory.
After a challenging preseason, the Madera Coyotes girls soccer team came out eager and prepped for a deep County/Metro Athletic Conference run after a 3-1 victory over Madera South in their annual match-up.
Behind goals from Mariah Zapata, Atiana Pinon and Adriana Dana who scored a jaw-dropping chip shot, the Coyotes earned their first CMAC victory and, for head coach Cameron Hill, the first is always important.
“We started the game slow, but grew into it and I thought we played well in the end and got the result,” he said. “The first CMAC win is the most important thing at the moment and, regardless of opponent, we want to do well.”
Madera faced a preseason slate that faced some of the best Division I talent in the Central Valley and after a strong showing Tuesday, the Coyotes only look to push into the future contests with equal effort and enthusiasm.
For Madera South, they opened the game well, but couldn’t keep up with Madera in the second half. Head coach Ramon Delgadillo said the team didn’t play as they had practiced for the match.
“I thought the girls played well in the first half, but two mistakes led to two goals,” Delgadillo said. “In the second half, I felt like we didn’t wake up. We didn’t play the way we trained.”
Despite the setbacks for Madera South, mainly in the second half, Brianna Maciel shone for the Stallions as an early goal put the Coyotes on their heels in the first half. Maciel was set up by teammate Valerie Rocha.
Pinon, Maciel and Zapata traded goals in the first half, giving Madera a narrow 2-1 lead. Madera South opened the game well, but two mistakes and especially one late in the end of the half, cost them and changed the trajectory of the game in favor of Madera.
“I think the goal was much needed and gave us a little comfort going into half with the lead. Changes the mood and team a bit as well,” Hill said.
Holding onto a 2-1 lead, the Coyotes continued to push while the Stallions were trying to stay afloat.
“Something we need to work on is our defending and passing in the back,” Delgadillo said. “We had a hard time. It is something we will work on.”
Pinon was a catalyst for the Coyotes as her tireless effort earned Madera consecutive corners early in the second half. Both corners were taken by Zapata, but Madera South was able to stymie the Coyotes in front of goal.
Pinon tried to add a second goal to her tally with an audacious attempt from the left side of the pitch inside the Madera South final third. The ball was struck cleanly, but it sailed it over the bar and out for a goal kick.
Maciel looked dangerous, but couldn’t find the space she had in the first half.
“They did put us under some pressure, but we were composed and defended well. I thought Natalia Mata defended particularly well in one-on-one situations. It helps to have a mature back line, including a four-year varsity goalkeeper,” Hill said.
Dana put the exclamation point on the night with a lofted shot 20 yards from goal. The ball looped over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The Coyote forward lifted her hands in disbelief as the crowd roared with approval.