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Saugus Soccer on the Verge

Posted: February 5, 2008 1:39 p.m.
Updated: April 7, 2008 2:01 a.m.

Saugus High's Ashley Dale (9) looks on as teammate Shelby Searcy (4) sends the Centurions' first goal past Hart goalkeeper Kayce Perkins (1) Monday at Saugus High. THe goal sparked the Centurions to a 2-0 victory, extending their first-place lead in the Foothill League standings to five points.

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It was the 64th minute between the Saugus and Hart girls soccer teams, with first place on the line.

Centurions midfielder Brielle Slepicoff unleashed a cross to the opposite side of the field and Shelby Searcy simply whiffed on close-range shot at the back door.

But Searcy made up for it.

Seven minutes later, she scored the biggest goal of Saugus' season. The junior's score in the 71st minute broke a scoreless tie at Saugus High on Monday, and an insurance goal eight minutes later gave the Centurions a 2-0 win over the defending Foothill League champions.

The win puts Saugus (16-2-3, 6-1-1) in the driver's seat to win the program's first outright Foothill League title. The team was co-champions with Hart in 1995.

"Two minutes before that (goal) I was thinking I don't want a tie," said Centurions head coach Lisa Rollo. "I told them at halftime, it was about placement not power. She placed that perfectly."

Monday's contest was a make up game from Jan. 25, which was rained out.

Jamie Molacek set up the first goal of the game by drawing a couple of Hart defenders into her and crossing the ball to the other side of the box. Searcy was waiting from 10 yards out, putting it past Hart goalkeeper Kayce Perkins.

Eight minutes later, Slepicoff, a CSUN verbal commit, added a second goal to put the game out of reach for Hart.

It came off a corner kick from Jamie Kucharski, and the Slepicoff was unmarked on the back post, scoring for a 2-0 lead.

The win not only gave the Centurions a five-point cushion heading into the last two games, it was also satisfying because Hart (15-4-4, 4-2-2) is the only team to defeat them in league play so far.

In the league opener for both teams on Jan. 8, Hart stunned the Centurions, 3-1.

"It meant everything with what was at stake," said Slepicoff of the win. "We weren't playing well. We had so much talent, but we couldn't put it together last time we played (Hart)."

The first contest with Hart started a stretch where the Centurions struggled to finish off their chances.

Now, Saugus has won five straight and has only given up one goal in league play since, a span of seven games.

"I think we climaxed at the right time. We peaked at the right time," Rollo said. "We came out on top and there's nothing better than that."

Hart looks like it may have peaked too early. After the Indians started off Foothill play without a loss at 3-0-2, they have lost two of their last three games. They still are in a position to grab a playoff spot but have a tough road ahead, facing West Ranch on the road today and a home game against Canyon at College of the Canyons on Friday.

Saugus' last two games of the season are against the league's bottom two teams. The Centurions face Golden Valley today and West Ranch on Friday. Both games are at home.

The Wildcats were the team to upset Saugus in the final game of last season, tying the Centurions 2-2 to end the Centurions' playoff hopes.

West Ranch's game-tying goal came late in stoppage time.

"After the game against West Ranch last year, we realized the game goes on until the refs stop it," Slepicoff said. "We've just all taken a part of that game with us. We won't stop until the last whistle blows."


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