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Valencia keeps foot on the gas

Vikings boys soccer continues its hot start by defeating Saugus

Posted: January 26, 2010 10:17 p.m.
Updated: January 27, 2010 4:30 a.m.

In what felt like a third period of a soccer game, the Saugus boys soccer team played with a sense of urgency in stoppage play that was seldom seen in the game’s previous 80 minutes.

Apparently, the Centurions were playing to Valencia’s strength.

The defensive-minded Vikings got enough offense through those 80 minutes and held back the late charge to win 2-0 Tuesday at Saugus High.

“We stay balanced. We don’t over-attack,” said Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio of the defensive success. “Here’s what it boils down to: At training, we talk about if a team’s going to score on us, then make them score on us.”

So Saugus was going to have to earn its goals.

Things were made more difficult for the Centurions as Valencia jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

In the game’s opening minutes, Valencia midfielder Ben Belin scored off an assist from Jason Kent to put Valencia up 1-0.

The Vikings (7-4-2, 4-0) picked up a second goal when Zane Ciampa sent a looping pass over the head of a pair of Saugus defenders right in front of the goal.

Renato Sanchez dove in and headed the ball into the net for the 2-0 Vikings lead.

But the pressure swung right back onto Valencia as Saugus’ offense came alive.

In the game’s 67th minute, Saugus senior Manny Padron sent a hard grounder to the right of Valencia goalkeeper Alex McIntyre, cutting the lead to 2-1.

“Yeah, I felt the pressure,” said Sanchez of the late second half and stoppage time. “I was a little nervous and they had chances.”

Especially in the extra-long stoppage time that last seven minutes.

Saugus spent most of its time in Vikings territory and managed three hard shots, but all of them were not on goal.

“This wasn’t our team,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller. “It’s tough because in the preseason leading up to this, everything was clicking.”

Saugus was 9-2-3 before League started and has started Foothill League play at 1-3.

“We’re going to try and establish ourselves as the comeback kids,” Groller said.

Valencia, meanwhile, will insist that its 4-0 league mark is not a surprise.

Though the Vikings have been absent from the league title picture for years.

Now they’re very much in it.

“The expectations for this team have always been high,” Scalercio said. “The reason we’re successful is we play all 80 minutes.”

And then some.



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