Madera South squeaks by Madera
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Adela Alvarez (10) and Madera South’s Adriana Ruiz battles for possession during Thursday’s match at Memorial Stadium.
Aliah Avila’s long-distance goal lifted the Madera South girls soccer team to a 1-0 win against rival Madera.
“I just saw the open space and I just took a shot. I didn’t think it was going to go in. It was a bit of a tough shot,” Avila said.
With both teams struggling to get shots in the first half of Thursday’s contest, the Coyotes had one of the few opportunities in the 23rd minute. That’s when junior Adela Alvarez attempted a header in front of goal which was blocked by the keeper. The Coyotes earned a corner kick after the block, but still failed to convert the opportunity.
With eight minutes left in the first half, the Stallions attempted a shot which went just wide of the goal. Madera’s Mariah Zapata launched a free kick in the final minutes before the break, but her shot traveled directly to the goalkeeper.
The Coyotes earned another free kick to start the second half and still failed to score. In the 53rd minute, Avila ended the game’s scoreless drought, launching a long-range shot that found the back of the net.
“Aliah is a special player. A special player made a special play. That’s how the games goes,” Madera high coach Cameron Hill said.
The Stallions came back with another shot a minute later, but missed the target.
The Coyotes had one of their best opportunities moments later when they pushed on a counter attack and penetrated through the last line of defense, forcing the keeper to come out of her goal. As the ball headed to the empty goal, Madera South senior Adriana Ruiz hustled to block the shot at the goalline.
Desperately searching for an equalizer in the final seconds, the Coyotes earned a throw-in near the Stallions’ goal. But Madera South stood firm and cleared the ball to end the game.
“We played pretty good. We defended well at the end, trying to get the ball out,” Avila said, adding that her team still needs to improve on communicating and taking more shots.
Madera South head coach Ramon Delgadillo said he noticed improvements from his team compared to previous games.
“We were hustling more. We were more into the game and the level of play didn’t drop like it did last time,” Delgadillo said. “They really wanted to win.”