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A Stat Dad's Dream

Posted: February 5, 2008 11:41 a.m.
Updated: April 7, 2008 2:01 a.m.

Hart High senior Sarina Coutin, right, works the ball down the field Monday at Saugus High School as Saugus defender Jamie Kucharski (5) tries to defend.

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It was five years ago that a parent approached Hart High co-athletic director Linda Peckham about taking stats for the varsity girls soccer team.

Peckham was surprised.

Nobody was taking stats or researching the histories of the local varsity soccer teams.

But it kept this parent, Rick Coutin, busy, because: A. It fed the inner-stats geek in him that has followed since he worked in sports information in college. And B. It gave him an opportunity to watch his daughter Elissa play for the Indians.

Five years later, Rick could probably fill a swimming pool full of notes on Hart girls soccer.

Many of those notes have been written because of his other daughter, Sarina.

From the moment Sarina stepped on the high school pitch, she was bound for greatness.

Rick remembers the lone freshman on a varsity team with 13 seniors, scoring three goals in her first game.

She went on to score in her first 12 contests.

And on Friday, at 5:35 p.m. as documented by Rick's cousin Leonard - a sports photographer - Sarina scored goal No. 100 of a career that is arguably the best in girls prep soccer in this valley's history

Sarina was frustrated prior to the play but not because she'd gone two games without a goal.

Not because people were starting to nickname the popular, friendly young girl "99" including one of her teachers.

She was frustrated because the play leading up to the goal should have gone a different way.

"I was thinking, 'Why didn't we cross it?' I was all by myself," she says.

But the ball found her near the net and Pilar Penaranda delivered it to her high.

The Golden Valley High goalkeeper went one way and she headed it the other for No. 100.

"It's really unbelievable," Sarina says. "I remember when (people) said I was on pace to break (Hart High graduate and former professional soccer player) Erin Misaki's record. It was unbelievable. It was like, 'Wow, that's a lot of goals to score.'"

She broke Misaki's school record of 74 career goals Jan. 12, 2007.

Sarina's career numbers are staggering.

Rick doesn't need a note to remember them.

As a freshman, she scored 20 goals with 16 assists.

As a sophomore, she scored 38 goals (a single-season school record) and made 16 assists.

As a junior - 20 goals, 21 assists. This season, she has 23 goals and seven assists.

She's started 103 consecutive games. It hasn't been easy.

Against West Ranch Jan. 20, 2007 she was undercut by another player.

Sarina held her neck and back as she grimaced on the field.

She had to be carried off the field and was later taken to the emergency room.

Sarina wore a neck brace to school that week and still managed to play the following game - against a doctor's wish.

She's had to deal with a lot of resentment.

One teammate last season made it clear she felt Sarina didn't deserve the ink.

Sarina felt alienated, as her teammate stopped passing to her.

Instead of tearing the team apart, the forward approached head coach Louis Romero about a move to the midfield, for the betterment of the team.

"I'm going to step up and be the bigger person," Sarina recalls thinking. "I'd feed her the balls."

It helped Hart reach the CIF-Southern Section Division II Semifinals.

Tension even came between her and sister Elissa, who was a senior when Sarina was a freshman and Sarina even resented her father at times because of the perception by some that he is her publicist.

But deep down, Sarina cares about her father.

He never misses a game, but last year, he missed one of her club matches.

Sarina says she looked around for him and when she noticed he wasn't there, it bothered her.

But the show has never been about her.

She's not flashy.

She's not tall.

She just scores a lot and deflects the attention.

Rick has a favorite quote from his daughter: "It's not about who scores, it's about scoring."

That tells you the kind of soccer player his daughter is.


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