Madera boys soccer flips for key home win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Julian Ramirez (8) celebrates with isaac Pinedo after Ramirez scored an early first half goal in last week’s victory over Tulare Western.
The Madera Coyotes boys soccer team picked up a goal in the first half and the second half for a 2-0 victory over Tulare Western in Memorial Stadium.
Julian Ramirez scored in the ninth minute and Alex Segovia put the final touches with a goal in the 68th minute for the win on Dec. 28.
“It relieves a lot of pressure we’ve put on ourselves over the last three weeks,” head coach Nic Landeros said. “It feels good to execute our game plan.”
Tulare Western won the Div. II Central Section championship in 2019 and came in with a 5-5-2 record. However, Landeros wanted his players to know this is the kind of team they want to aspire to be — Valley Champions.
“We want to be that type of program where we end up in the Valley final,” he said. “Ever team should strive to be there. When you put good teams on your schedule and compete and dominate them, that’s a credit to these boys. Hopefully, they are believing and gives us momentum into CMAC.”
Landeros was also happy to get star midfielder Elmer Garcia back in action. He missed last week’s 1-0 loss to Fowler, but returned with two assists against the Mustangs.
“Having Elmer on the field, not only with his skill and ability, but with his leadership is like having another coach on the field,” Landeros said. “It uplifts everyone. Our level of play is different than when he isn’t on the field.
“We know what team we have. It’s soccer. There will be illness and injuries. We play the game with what we have. Even though we weren’t at 100 percent, we were in control of most of our games. We’re at about 80 percent. We still have a couple of nagging injuries and illness. Once we are at full strength, we should be able to make a deep run.”
Tulare Western had the first chance of the game with a cross to the middle, but Madera goalkeeper Chris Arias came out to clear the ball.
On the counter, Garcia got the ball in the middle and sent a fly ball near the front of the goal. Ramirez, with the ball in the air, swung his leg through the ball and found the upper right corner for the goal in the ninth minute.
He celebrated his goal with a gymnastics move — round-off, back handspring, backflip.
“That’s my celebration,” he said. “I just hit it (the ball). I thought it was going to go over, but once I hit it, I saw it going down and in. I’ve been practicing that for a couple of years. I just learned how to do that.”
Madera’s pressure on the Tulare Western goal didn’t end. Eight minutes later, Ramirez got the ball on the right, beat a defender and took the ball to the keeper, but shot over the goal.
Five minutes later, Ramirez sent a cross to Dylan Castro. Castro tried to slide the ball to the goal, but the pass was too far.
In the 28th minute, Tulare Western got the ball in the front and tried a quick shot. Arias was quicker by making a diving save to his right.
The Mustangs got a 25-yard shot on goal, but Arias made another block to keep the Mustangs off the board in the 33rd minute,
Tulare Western came out of the second half with a quick shot on goal in the second minute. However, Arias went high to make the catch in front of the goal.
In the 18th minute, the Mustangs deflected the ball across the face of the goal. Arias came out to defend and blocked the ball wide and out of bounds.
Madera had a chance two minutes later. Segovia sent a long shot on goal that hit off the inside of the crossbar. Segovia thought the ball landed over the end line and started celebrating the goal, but no signal came from the referee. Ramirez came in and headed the ball on goal, but it hit the crossbar and Tulare Western cleared.
The Coyotes got their insurance goal in the 28th minute. Garcia got possession of the ball in front of a Tulare Western defender and popped a pass to Segovia in the middle from about 35 yards out. Segovia got the pass, settled the ball and shot the ball over the keeper’s head into the back of the net for the goal and a 2-0 lead.
Neither team made a threat in the final 22 minutes of the match.