SELMA - In a rivalry game that came down to a sudden death overtime period, Selma’s Brooke Machado scored the game winner for a 9-8 home victory over Kingsburg in the Central Sequoia League opener on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

After providing the Bears with the golden goal, Machado was speechless after the hard-fought win.

“I’m out of words,” Machado said. “The last shot, it just felt great, we finally finished it and Kingsburg is our rival, so it was amazing to beat them.”

The Bears forced a sudden death after Claire Machado nailed the game-tying goal in the second overtime period. The Vikings kept Claire Machado from gaining another scoring opportunity in the sudden death period by constantly double teaming her.

Selma was down 8-7 in the first overtime period after Kingsburg’s Sofia Righetti give the Vikings a late lead with the go-ahead goal. Righetti made a clutch game-tying goal in the fourth quarter to force overtime with the score at 7-7.

“We know that they were a tough team to beat, but we know that if we took all our effort into it, we could do it as a team,” Bears goalie Arriella Alvarez said.

Before Righetti tied the game in the fourth quarter, Brooke Machado had the first score of the period and Shay Hanson of the Vikings proceeded to cut Selma’s lead at 7-6.

Defensively, the Vikings got off to a good start, holding the Bears scoreless and taking a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Megan Buendia, Hanson, and Righetti, in that order, scored in the opening quarter.

“I just wish we didn’t start so slow and give me a heart attack,” Selma coach Harold Wood said. “But they found a rhythm again, they finally understood on who to pick up and where to cover and the girls, they really were good. We’re finally starting to come together as a team and starting to play well.”

Wood added that the team needs to improve on its slow starts and they can’t fall behind early in upcoming games if they want to repeat as CSL champions.

“We can’t keep falling behind 2, 3, 4-0, which we do a lot,” Wood said. “We need to get our act straight in the very beginning and focus. I don’t know, I have to work on that one somehow, maybe promise some chocolate almonds or something if we score first.”

Selma wouldn’t be shut down for too long, scoring three goals in the second quarter, but Kingsburg would still have the lead at halftime with a 5-3 advantage. Claire Machado (two) and Brooke Machado (one) scored the Bears’ goals in the second quarter.

After being down the entire game, Selma took its first lead of the game in the third quarter after scoring three goals and shutting out Kingsburg to take a 6-5 lead. Julianna Colado had one goal while Claire Machado scored the game-tying and go-ahead scores.

“I’m not mad about the way they played at all,” Vikings coach Tris Abell said. “It was a hard-fought game and it just came down to one mistake on our end and it is what its. It was a hard-fought game and we look forward to seeing them again and we have one more chance to still win league when we see them one more time.”

The Bears improved to 9-5 overall and start CSL play at 1-0 while the Vikings began league play at 0-1 and drop to 15-3 overall.

The league opener was the second-straight game between the rivals that went into overtime and third in a row that ended in dramatic fashion. In last year’s regular season finale, the Bears defeated the Vikings 9-7 in overtime and it was a victory that clinched the CSL championship for Selma. In the first meeting of 2018, Kingsburg had a come from behind 8-6 victory, outscoring its rival 5-0 in the second half.

“I think they’re going to be our strongest competition for league,” Abel said. “We played hard, so if we keep playing this way for the rest of the league, we’ll not only improve, we know how they play so we know what to expect next time.”

On Thursday, the Bears defeated Hanford West 11-6 while the Vikings topped Exeter 9-6 in CSL matchups.

Selma last played Dinuba at home on Monday (after press time). Today, Kingsburg will continue league play in a road game against the Emperors today. Selma will play Exeter on the road today. The rivals will meet again at Kingsburg High on Oct. 17.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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