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Wildcats Spoil Finale Again

Posted: February 8, 2008 2:50 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2008 2:01 a.m.

West Ranch's Camille Kirkpatrick, bottom, battles for the ball as she collides with Saugus' Nicole Penick Thursday.

 
With a stunning tie in the regular season finale against Saugus High one season ago, the West Ranch girls soccer team ruined the Centurions' playoff chances.

It cemented a reputation as spoilers.
In this year's finale, though Saugus had already clinched an outright Foothill League championship and playoff berth, the Wildcats struck one more time.
West Ranch tied Saugus for the second straight year, 1-1 Thursday at Saugus, clouding the Centurions' chances for the top-three seeding in the CIF-Southern Section Division II postseason they've been coveting.
Solo champions for the first time ever, this was not the victory lap Saugus (17-2-4, 7-1-2) was looking for.
"This was an important game for us to win," said Saugus head coach Lisa Rollo. "Now things are going to get really anxious as we wait to find things out."
Blame the hot-at-the-end Wildcats.
For West Ranch, which entered the game without a chance of reaching the playoffs, it was just another step in what was a strong finish to their second varsity year.
The Wildcats (8-7-4, 3-5-2) lost only once in its final five Foothill League games, tying Canyon and Saugus and topping Golden Valley and Valencia.
While the Centurions' bench groaned when the final whistle sounded, West Ranch's stood and applauded.
"We just tied the Foothill League champions," said Wildcats head coach Tania Eberle. "I just wish we had started out as hot as we finished. Even though we were in fifth place for most of the year, we proved we're as good as anyone else. We're not the second worst."
A slow start was not a problem Thursday.
It took 27 seconds for sophomore Jordyn Utvich to put the Centurions' in an uphill battle.
A stunned Saugus trailed 1-0 immediately.
"I've never seen that happen before," Rollo said. "I've never seen my team come out that flat. West Ranch came right at us and moved around us like we were pegs stuck in the ground and put it past our keeper."
It turned out to be the difference for the Centurions between an end-of-the-season victory and a tie.
Saugus' keeper, backup Hannah Schmid, who was in goal because of a bruise to starter Marina Constantinou's thigh, did bounce back, though.
After an Ashley Dale header knotted the score at 1-1 for the Centurions, there was no getting in Saugus' net.
With 21 minutes remaining, the senior replacement player stopped an Amanda Kelley penalty kick.
"I know they wanted to score really badly," Eberle said. "So did we. This is our last game of the year."
All that remains now for Saugus is the waiting game. The Centurions hope their strong body of non-league work and a championship in a competitive league will be enough for a favorable seeding in the brackets.
"I've been here four years and we've never gone far in the playoffs. We haven't even gotten out of the first round," Rollo said. "Our goal is to get past that step."
Rollo said she expects Constantinou and fellow starters Shannon Suarez and Aneet Bhogdal, who each missed Friday's finale, to be available for the playoffs.


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