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CIF soccer: Saugus falls in extra time

San Clemente knocks out Cents

Posted: February 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 


The Saugus girls soccer team accomplished a lot this season.

The Centurions won their third straight Foothill League title and became the first girls soccer team in Santa Clarita Valley history to win a CIF-Southern Section Division I playoff game.

But a second-round matchup with San Clemente High — ranked No. 7 nationally by ESPNHS — proved too much for Saugus in a 1-0 loss in extra time on Wednesday at San Clemente High School.

The two teams battled to a scoreless draw in regulation, with Saugus showcasing its defensive strength.

But with 1:30 remaining in the first extra period, the Tritons (16-2-7) scored off a corner kick to win under the sudden-death format.

The game featured two teams ready to attack from the opening kick, with both squads working the counter to no avail.
The Tritons, who held a size advantage over the Centurions (20-4-3), used long throw-ins and corner kicks in search of a goal, but Saugus continued to turn them away behind a strong backline and stellar play from sophomore goalie Maddie Hebert.

“Maddie Hebert played out of her mind,” said Saugus head coach Natalie Helgeson. “She was just amazing. My defense was amazing.”

San Clemente had been shut out in regulation only twice this season, and hadn’t gone scoreless since Jan. 17 against fellow national top-10 team Aliso Niguel.

“I was very impressed with (San Clemente),” Helgeson said. “They had a lot of girls that were very quick and comfortable carrying the ball up the middle. I feel their defense was making some mistakes. Our forwards were able to strip their defense of the ball, but we couldn’t get the numbers to help them out because they were so quick.”

But even though Saugus wasn’t able to get on the board, the Centurions were more than pleased with their effort.

“Holding them 0-0 through regulation is something to be really proud of,” Helgeson said. “89 minutes, we held them 0-0. We were hurting. Our girls had no legs left.”

Now, Saugus will have to turn its attention toward next season.

The Centurions will lose eight seniors to graduation, but return junior Angie Weiner and defender Monica Allen. Allen missed the second half of the league season with a torn ACL.

“We have way more returners this year than we had last year,” Helgeson said. “We had five returners, I believe. The girls coming up on varsity have learned a big lesson in leadership and heart and intensity (from our seniors) and they’ll pick it up.

Our seniors have led by example.”

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