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Prep boys soccer: Turnaround ‘D’

Cents pitch another shutout after early season struggles

Posted: January 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Saugus forward T.J. Huntington, left, advances the ball on Hart's Brayon Rodriguez on Tuesday at Hart High.

 

After losing its first three Foothill League games and allowing 12 goals along the way, the Saugus Centurions boys soccer team took it personally.

The team was convinced it was much better defensively than that.

Saugus continued to validate that, though, by winning 1-0 over the Hart Indians on Tuesday at Hart High School for a third shutout in its last four games.

Saugus (5-8-5 overall, 2-3-2 Foothill League) hasn’t lost since starting 0-3 in league play and it has allowed just one goal in four games.

“Since the first half, the first round (of league play), all we have been focusing on is defense,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller.

Defense was exactly what won this game for the Centurions, who scored on a T.J. Huntington goal in the 36th minute.

Huntington reached out his foot and redirected the ball which came to him on a throw-in by Austen Scheff. He got just enough on the ball for it to trickle into the left side.

“Sometimes that’s all it takes is a little tap,” Huntington said. “I was in the right place at the right time.”

With an entire second half to play, Saugus was far from out of the woods against an aggressive Hart team that had an array of promising looks at the goal throughout the game.

For the second straight game, the Indians (11-5-2, 3-3-1) came close to scoring several times, but couldn’t deliver the knockout punch.

Hart outshot Saugus 14-3, including shots that went off the crossbar, headers that went wide of the goal and attempts that were stopped at the last second by Saugus goalkeeper Noah Maynard.

“We have no one that finishes what we create,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel. “We make a lot of chances, but we can’t put them in.”

Hart sophomore Anthony Salvadori had two headers toward goal, one which required a diving save by Maynard.

Derek Waldeck and Jeysen Rodriguez also took shots for Hart in the closing minutes, but the Centurions held off every corner kick and every deep throw-in that came their way.

“(Hart) definitely hammered us for the whole second half, and we had to be strong defensively,” Scheff said.

Saugus remains fourth place in league, but is now just two points behind third-place Hart with three games to play.

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