Chino Valley triumphs over Madison Highland, 5-1
September 20, 2023 by Marco Radice-Morras, Arizona State University
Marco Radice-Morras is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Madison Highland Prep for AZPreps365.com
Chino Valley recorded an impressive 5-1 victory over Madison Highland on Tuesday evening at Reach 11 Sports Complex, as Chris Estrada starred in midfield.
Estrada scored one goal and assisted on another to cap off a superb individual display.
"It was one of my best performances of the season," Estrada said. “I passed the ball really well, but my team deserves a lot of credit too."
The first half was a cagey affair as both sides missed early chances. The Heat's striker could not capitalize on Daniel Dominguez's through ball, as he fired his shot too high.
But it was Chino Valley who broke the deadlock in the 27th minute. Estrada played a clever chipped through ball over the Heat's defense, and Jackson Bishop latched onto it before rounding the keeper and scoring into the empty net.
Madison Highland applied pressure to try and level the game before halftime. Voss Sellers' tricky footwork helped him beat several defenders, but his shot from a tight angle was saved well by Chino Valley goalkeeper Ian Benson.
The second half was more eventful as Angel Sanchez eventually turned in Estrada's free-kick two minutes after the restart to double Chino Valley's lead. The freshman reacted quickest to a loose rebound before stabbing the ball home past the Heat goalkeeper.
Madison Highland's evening went from bad to worse as in the 43rd minute the Heat defender fouled Cougars winger Gilbert Avila in the box, forcing the referee to point to the penalty spot.
Estrada stepped up to take the penalty before calmly rolling the ball into the back of the net, sending the Heat goalkeeper the wrong way to extend Chino Valley's lead.
Chino Valley then found themselves ahead 4-0 in the 49th minute. Bishop recovered a loose ball before teeing up Cisco Silva, who hit a powerful low-driven shot into the bottom left corner, beyond the Heat goalkeeper's reach.
Chino Valley capped off a fantastic start to the second half with their fourth goal being their third in the opening seven minutes, much to the frustration of Heat coach Curtis Watson.
"We gave up some easy goals at the start of the second half," Watson said. "It was a lack of focus and maybe a few nerves that cost us those goals."
Madison Highland continued searching for their first goal as their forwards continued to find themselves in dangerous positions. Still, it was Chino Valley who would score again, as the Heat failed to clear the Cougars' seventh corner of the game.
Cougars defender Tony Silva took advantage of the loose ball as he fired the ball past the goalkeeper from six yards out.
Despite being down 5-0, Madison Highland showed no signs of giving up, and their continuous efforts were rewarded in the 69th minute as star player Josiah Martinez fired home his 15th goal of the season.
The junior took his goal superbly as his pace and fancy dribbling saw him go past several Chino Valley defenders before firing home into the bottom right corner from a tight angle, taking away the Cougars’ chances of a clean sheet, much to the disappointment of coach Todd Carey.
"I'm happy with the win, but we have a lot of things to work on and shore up,” Carey said.
Madison Highland (6-2, 1-2) will play at Payson (5-3-1, 1-2) on Monday at 6 p.m.
Chino Valley (3-1, 1-0) will play at Camp Verde (1-5, 1-0) on Thursday at 6 p.m.