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Knights down Coyotes after slow first half

After a slow and uncharacteristic first half, the Madera Coyotes girls soccer team was unable to claw out of a hole in its 4-1 loss to the Bullard Knights-Fresno Knights in Memorial Stadium.

“We didn’t play well in the first half. We didn’t close down enough spaces, which gave them time and space to shoot and pass,” Madera Coyotes head coach Cameron Hill said of Thursday’s match. “The second half, we were more aggressive to win the ball and we connected more going forward. Overall, it wasn’t our best performance, but we can say we improved in the second half.”

Atiana Pinon led the way for Madera with a second-half goal, but after a sluggish opening to the game, the Coyotes faced an uphill battle regaining their footing in the match. Adela Alvarez set up Pinon, but only a single goal on the day was too little to oertake Bullard.

Alvarez utilized her creative ability and vision to find her running mate in the opponent final third before sliding a right-footed ball into the path of one of Madera’s most dangerous players.

“It was a good ball from Adela and it’s something we have tried to improve on recently. It’s making sure our forwards connect with each other and are making runs off the ball,” Hill said.

Pinon, like normal, dispatched the ball into the back of the net and despite being down multiple goals, the Coyotes kept fighting throughout. It’s a testament to the Coyotes and the message they conveyed early in the season against many top soccer clubs.

It doesn’t matter who travels to Memorial Stadium, the Coyotes are going to give you a fight for 80 minutes.

A.J. Renovato powered the Knights with two goals, while teammates Jacksen Olson and Mia Ferguson each grabbed a goal for the County/Metro Athletic Conference leaders with only two games left.

Thankfully for the Coyotes, the playoffs are just another chance for Hill and his girls to not only go out and compete which they’ve done all year, but also to shock those who might be doubting the Coyotes.

“Going into playoffs, it’s about building up confidence and focusing on improving ourselves as a team,” Hill said. “In a single elimination tournament, anything can happen and we have to believe we can play and beat anyone.”

In soccer, that’s the name of the game.

Once the Coyotes step on the pitch, anything can happen. Madera will close out its 2021 CMAC season with the San Joaquin Memorial-Panthers and then the Sanger Apaches before the first round of CIF playoffs.



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