Stallions struggle in playoff loss
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Vanessa Rivera looks for a shot on goal during Tuesday’s playoff loss to the Porterville Panthers. Rivera scored two goals in the 16-9 loss.
The Madera South Stallions girls water polo team enjoyed a successful season culminating in a co-North Yosemite League championship.
However, when one-half of your dynamic scoring duo is rolled, or fouled out, midway through the third period, it makes things difficult.
The third-seeded Stallions were outscored by the 14th-seeded Porterville Panthers 8-1 into the fourth quarter in a 16-9 loss in the first round of the Div. III Central Section playoffs.
Savanna and Vanessa Rivera accounted for six of Madera South’s nine goals and had the lead until Savanna, who scored five goals, earned her third foul of the game and was “rolled” with 4:20 left in the third period.
Vanessa tried to make up for the absence with a goal less than a minute later, but her repeated long shots couldn’t find the mark and the Stallions couldn’t crash the goal in rebound attempts.
Meanwhile, the Panthers found a soft spot in the Madera South defense and exploited that fully. Nine of Porterville’s goals came from the right side, swimming close to goalie Abigail Clark. The Stallions’ defense couldn’t keep the Panthers away from Clark in goal.
In the beginning, it looked like the Stallions were going to take control. Vanessa Rivera shot into the upper right corner from mid-pool on a no-look shot at the shot clock buzzer for a 1-0 lead.
Porterville scored on the right up front to tie the match two minutes later. The Panthers earned a five-meter penalty shot and found the left corner for a 2-1 lead. The Panthers extended the lead to two with a long shot into the right side.
Just 17 seconds later, the Stallions began a stretch of three goals in about a minute when Alondra Preciado scored from long range on the right.
Thirty seconds later, Savanna Rivera got the ball in front off a long pass from Clark and beat the Porterville goalie to tie the score.
Rivera gave the Stallions the lead with a mid-pool, no-look shot for a 4-3 lead with 11 seconds left in the first period.
Rivera, again, shot from mid-pool range and found the upper right corner for a 5-3 lead and a four-goal run.
Porterville came right back with a goal 18 seconds later to cut the lead to one.
Rivera got the ball in front and scored over the goalie for a 6-4 lead, but Porterville scored with a one-on-one opportunity against Clark with 13 seconds left for a 6-5 Stallions’ lead.
Porterville tied the match at six with a goal with a two-man advantage.
Rivera gave the Stallions the lead from the left side, shooting inside the far post for a 7-6 lead.
At the other end, Clark made two point blank blocks and then another block on the rebound.
However, the mood was darkened when Rivera fouled out.
Vanessa Rivera gave the Stallions an 8-6 lead with a long shot over the goalie and under the crossbar with 3:33 left in the third period.
Porterville closed out the third with three goals to take a 9-8 lead. They scored the first six goals of the fourth quarter to take command of the game, leading 15-8.
April Macedo scored Madera South’s lone fourth period goal from the middle with a man advantage.
The Panthers closed out the scoring with a five-meter shot with 18 seconds left for the 16-9 victory.