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Prep soccer: Cents ahead of schedule

After losing some key players off last year’s squad, Saugus opens the season on a high note

Posted: November 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus forward Brenna Savoie, left, takes a shot on goal against a Lancaster defender in the second half on Tuesday at Saugus High School.

 

The Saugus girls soccer team looks to have reloaded in a hurry.

A technically sound defense combined with a strong offensive attack propelled the Centurions to a 4-0 season-opening victory over Lancaster on Tuesday afternoon at Saugus High School.

After winning its third straight Foothill League title last season, the Centurions (1-0) lost league Player of the Year Serena Smith-Banas, the league’s strongest defensive player and current Texas Christian University athlete. Saugus also graduated last year’s leading goal scorer, Stacey Atwater, to graduation.

“That was my biggest worry,” said senior Monica Allen. “Who would fill that spot?”

On Tuesday, junior Alana Shaw shifted to the back and anchored a strong defensive effort that kept Lancaster (0-1) from putting much pressure on goalkeeper Maddie Hebert throughout the contest.

Two freshman, Kassandra Jones and Yulissa Gonzalez, started at the midfield and distributed the ball well, with Jones finding the back of the net early in the match.

“I was really happy with the combinations and possession,” said Saugus head coach Natalie Helgeson. “We have a lot more figured out this season (one game in) than the beginning of last season.”

Brenna Savoie got things started for the Centurions, scoring the game’s opening goal off an assist from Avery Schulhofer.

Schulhofer quickly notched her second assist, finding Jones to put Saugus ahead 2-0 less than 15 minutes into the game.

Saugus took that lead into halftime before Allen scored two second-half goals.

The first came off a throw-in that ricochetted in off a Lancaster defender with 37:30 remaining.

With 21:30 left, Allen scored her second from about 28 yards out directly in front of the net off an assist from Savoie that bounced off the goalkeeper and into the net.

“We did really well today,” Allen said. “We had a lot of chances and finished a lot of them.”

The Centurions don’t have much time to rest, though, as they take on Moorpark today at 3 p.m. at Saugus High.

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