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Showcase of D

Top-ranked Saugus and Chaminade girls soccer battle to a stalemate

Posted: December 15, 2009 10:21 p.m.
Updated: December 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus' Emily Relles (16) dribbles downfield as a Chaminade player gives chase Tuesday at Saugus High School.

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Defense took center stage as Saugus and Chaminade fought to a 0-0 tie on Tuesday at Saugus High School in a matchup of two CIF-Southern Section Division II powers.

The reigning Division II champion Centurions (4-1-1) entered the season ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches poll, while the Eagles (8-0-2) sat at No. 6.

“They’re the defending CIF champs because they are solid,” said Eagles head coach Mike Evans. “The moment they won CIF, I called and wanted them on our schedule because we have that same tradition of success.”

Chaminade, which entered the contest having scored 46 goals on the young season, was completely neutralized by a defense led by junior sweeper Kaitlyn Hamersky.

“It starts with defense, so if your defense is strong, you just build from there,” said first-year Saugus head coach Natalie Helgeson.

Meanwhile, ever-elusive Saugus senior Jamie Molacek was held in check by Eagle sweeper Ana Alvarado, but still managed to create opportunities.

The Centurions outshot Chaminade five to one on goal in the first half, including a pair in front of the net by junior Ysabelle Padron minutes before halftime.

But Eagle goalkeeper Chanaar Desai dove to her left and plucked the ball out of the air.

“We just didn’t finish our opportunities,” Helgeson said. “We are still working on making decisions in the attacking third. We had more shots then they did. We had more opportunities that should have been goals. We just have to fine-tune that.”

Saugus senior Emily Relles had one of the her team’s best chances to get on the board, but her shot from 20 yards out hit the crossbar.

In the second half, Chaminade began to find an aggressive rhythm, and registered three shots on goal to Saugus’ none.

The Eagles nearly found the back of the net late when they were awarded a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box.

But senior Rita Hurlbut’s shot sailed wide of the top-left corner.

Unfortunately for Saugus, a physicality that built throughout the game turned ugly when Hamersky suffered an undetermined shoulder injury challenging for a lose ball.

“That could have been avoided had they issued a card earlier in the game,” Helgeson said.

The final whistle blew as soon as the ball was put back in play and the game ended in a stalemate.

Desai and Saugus goalkeeper Kelly Parker each finished with four saves.

“I would say that today was a display of sweepers,” Evans said. “Anytime we started an attack, (Hamersky) was there to clear everything up. And from the beginning of the game to the end of the game, our sweeper was the same way. This was a showcase of defenses.

“If you go by the saying, ‘defense wins championships,’ then we are probably both looking at a situation where if it comes to that, maybe we’ll see each other in the CIF finals,” Evans added.

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