Early goals fuel Stallions past Hawks
Courtesy of Christopher Cross
Madera South’s Noemi Alfaro (30) battles with Liberty’s Ashley Torres (12) for possession during Wednesday’s Div. II girls soccer first-round playoff game.
Two goals from Brianna Maciel and two goals from Aliah Avila were enough as the Madera South Stallions girls soccer team defeated the Liberty Hawks, 4-2, at Liberty.
Stallions head coach Ramon Delgadillo has preached all year to play as a team and the results will come and against the Hawks, his methods proceed right again. Both Avila and Maciel scored two goals and provided an assist to each other in a game that featured Madera South’s attacking prowess.
“We started off with two quick goals and we were playing really well in the first half,” Delgadillo said. “The girls were playing as a team and they were controlling the game. I’m happy with the way they played.”
For the seventh-seeded Hawks, despite a league title in 2021, their playoff hopes came to an end. Tenth-seeded Madera South’s three-goal first half was too much for the Hawks to overcome.
Although, Sara Garibay made the game interesting in the second half. The dynamic athlete punished the Stallions twice in the second half after a red card was handed to Madera South.
Liberty pushed past Madera South’s back line and was able to convert, but a fourth Madera South goal put the game to bed.
“I think we benefitted from the wind as well because Liberty had to go against the wind in the first half,” Delgadillo said. “We were switching the ball from one side to the other and playing very fast.”
Maciel opened the scoring and Avila followed as the lightning quick Stallions were galloping across the pitch with ease. Andrea Vasquez set up her senior captain with an inch-perfect pass inside the Liberty final third for the opener
The Stallions doubled their lead shortly after when Anahi Casillas found Avila racing into the Hawks final third before Avila calmly finished passed Hawks goalkeeper Carly Tynan.
Despite allowing four goals, Tynan has been one of the best keepers in the league this season and has been for years.
However, the Stallions were moving and passing, executing Delgadillo’s game plan perfectly.
Up two goals, Madera South had control of the game. Liberty’s Garibay and freshman Kinsey McIntosh tried to turn the tide of the match in the first half, but the home team and could not get one across until the second half.
A second goal from Maciel towards the end of the first half was the back breaker for the Hawks as a 3-0 deficit throughout a game is difficult, but to overcome three goals in one half, the Hawks needed help.
Coming out of the break after two goals from Maciel and a goal from Avila, Madera South faced a more determined Hawks.
It reached a point where the Hawks were banging on the door down three goals and a red card with 20 minutes left opened the game back up.
Garibay punished Madera South twice in the span of 10 minutes with two goals.
Madera South grabbed a fourth goal through Avila to ice the game, but the Hawks nearly snatched a victory from the Stallions.
“We had a tougher time in the second half and Liberty did a good job pressuring us,” Delgadillo said. “The team responded and we held on for the win. We are really happy to get a win in the playoffs. Now we know we need to focus and play our game. When we do what we need to, we can win.”