Madera suffers OT loss against SJM
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera senior William Bispham tries to dribble around a pair of San Joaquin Memorial defenders during Tuesday’s overtime loss.
Despite a valiant defensive effort, the Madera High boys soccer team gave up a goal in overtime and lost, 1-0, to San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno
The Panthers found the winner with five minutes left in the second overtime when Nick Safadi connected with John Gleason on Tuesday in Memorial Stadium.
“The ball just dropped to the striker’s feet and it was good placement,” Madera head coach Nic Landeros said. “With our goalkeeper facing the sun, it’s different playing this time of the year,. He’s facing the sun and maybe he saw it a little late.”
Although the loss left a bad taste on senior night for the Coyotes, Landeros was happy with the effort from the older players.
“All the seniors started and they came out hungry,” Landeros said. “The message before the game was, ‘Seniors, you decide how long you want to stay on the field.’ Some of them said, ‘I’m going to play the whole game,’ and they proved it.”
The Coyotes turned up the effort in the second half after struggling to get chances in the first 40 minutes.
Madera’s Elias Zuniga had a chance to open the scoring in the 47th minute. However, his shot from inside the box sailed over the bar. San Joaquin Memorial immediately responded with their own attack. But Alex Bryan was unable to connect with the ball in front of goal as a pass came from the wing. A minute later, Madera goalkeeper Ivan Ovando came up with a save as Safadi put a shot on target.
Zuniga missed another chance in the 58th minute when his shot from close range went just wide of the goal. Madera junior Elmer Garcia also launched a shot from inside the box in the 70th minute and failed to find the target. The last opportunity of regulation came in the final seconds as senior Jonah Hill launched a strike, which went straight to the keeper.
Madera found a rare chance in overtime when Garcia took a shot from just outside the box which went too high. Later in the second period of overtime, Zuniga saw the keeper out of his box and attempted a shot from long range. But the shot was blocked by a defender as soon as it left the striker’s foot.
The Panthers then came back with the deciding goal in the second period of overtime.
“It’s difficult to play a team that sends the long ball,” Landeros said. “Whenever we build, we like to press high from the front. But if a team sends it right back, it’s very difficult to continue to stay in our attacking half. It’s just a different style of play, one that’s difficult to play against.”
Still, the head coach praised his team’s effort.
“I think today, we were the better team,” he said. “They just happened to get the goal. We didn’t.”