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Prep soccer: Centurions’ finish stings

Perhaps overconfident, Saugus falls behind East Valley early and can’t catch up

Posted: December 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Saugus midfielder T.J. Huntington (15) takes a shot as East Valley’s Brandon Merida slides in to block it on Wednesday at the Hart Soccer Showcase.

The plan for Saugus for the final week of preleague play was to work out a few kinks and get ready for the Foothill League schedule.

Things didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned.

Saugus fell behind early and fell short on a late rally, losing 3-1 to East Valley of North Hollywood in the fifth-place game of the Hart Soccer Showcase on Wednesday at Hart High School.

“This is not what we wanted with our last shot before league,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller, whose team will head into its Foothill opener on Jan. 10 with a 5-7-1 record.

The Centurions also lost 2-1 earlier in the day to Rosamond, meaning Saugus finished 1-3 in the tournament.

Losing to East Valley in the finale made for a stinging finish for Saugus, which won the Lancaster Tournament last week.

“I think we got a little cocky in this game,” said Saugus defender Zack Nua. “And (East Valley) showed us we can’t play like that.”

The Falcons (6-3-4) attacked right off the bat. Jorge Solorio got hold of the ball from the left corner outside the 18-yard box, and from there, he sent a slow-moving lob shot into the right corner of the net to put his team up 1-0 just seven minutes into the game.

“You can call it a cross, you call it a shot, whatever,” said East Valley head coach Jonathan Hernandez of the goal. “We just want to send it into the box.”

For most of the game, the possession was evenly split for the most part, but East Valley struck again in the second half. Jorge Rivas scored with a powerful right-footed shot from 15 yards out six and a half minutes into the half.

Six minutes later, with Saugus pushing extra players forward to generate offense, East Valley’s Robert Parada stole the ball from Saugus’ Austen Scheff in the open field, giving him a clean run to the goal to make it 3-0.

“We play that type of soccer,” Hernandez said, “And it was really about finishing today.”

In the final 15 minutes of the game, the Centurions came alive offensively, actually outshooting the Falcons 10-9 in the game.

Saugus forwards Danny Torres and Brian Perez were constantly getting the ball down the sidelines and trying to cross it into the box, producing several close calls but only one goal.

With 12:30 to play, Torres snuck it into the back of the net after receiving a nifty pass from Charles Hill.

More chances came after Torres’ score, but not enough for a Saugus comeback.

“In this game, we played probably 60 minutes of very low-energy soccer and then picked it up in the last 10 minutes,” Groller said.


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