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Prep boys soccer: A meeting of the minds

Saugus earns first league win after players hold sit

Posted: January 19, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 19, 2013 1:55 a.m.

Saugus High's Zack Nua (16) shoots and scores against Canyon at Saugus on Friday.

 

Instead of practicing earlier this week, Saugus boys soccer held a team meeting following a third straight Foothill League loss.

At the meeting, players talked to each other about holding each other accountable and playing with desire.

Whatever was said seemed to work for the Centurions, who picked up their first league win of the year by beating Canyon 3-0 on Friday at Saugus High School.

“We’re all on the same page now and we’re communicating,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller, whose team is now 4-8-3 overall, 1-3-1 in league. “We have 15 seniors on this team. It’s the last year of high school for them.
We’re in a much better place now.”

One of those seniors, Zack Nua, scored the first goal just eight minutes into the game and Saugus added two scores on penalty kicks after that on Tuesday.

Canyon (5-9-2, 0-3-1) had its best chances early in the game, but it struggled to get the ball beyond a strong Saugus defense most of the game.

“We figured out what we needed to do defensively,” Nua said. “We had to figure out our formation and all of that.”

Centurion goalkeepers Noah Maynard and Jonah Valdez combined for five saves and the shutout to add to the team’s impressive showing on the back end.

A successful PK by Brian Perez came in the 35th minute after Canyon’s Rojay Morrison was called for intentionally extending his arm toward a player to stop a shot on goal. That gave Saugus a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Dom Menolascino added the final goal in the closing minutes of the game after his teammate Steven Johnson was knocked over from behind at the top of the 18-yard box.

But the Centurions clearly took the upper hand when Nua knocked in a left-footed shot through a crowd of Canyon defenders after a well-placed throw-in by Austen Scheff.

The Cowboys finished with nine shots in the game, many of them taken by forward Chad Ybarra. But most of the quality ones came in the first half when it was still a one-goal game.

“They lack the confidence,” said Canyon head coach Lou Aguilera. “That’s all it is. It’s the confidence. As soon as we get a goal scored on us, our body language changes and you can see it. We get down.”

In spite of the two PKs, Canyon goalkeeper Robert Nudya turned in a strong game, making six saves.

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