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Cents blank champs

Esquivel helps Saugus top Canyon for second time

Posted: February 11, 2009 2:13 a.m.
Updated: February 11, 2009 4:54 a.m.

Saugus High's Amir Ranjbar-Shiraz (8) attempts to steal the soccer ball from Canyon's Juan Munoz (9) Tuesday at Saugus High School.

The Canyon boys soccer team may have clinched the Foothill League crown on Saturday, but after Tuesday’s play there was one team in the league with less losses than the champion.

For the second time this season, Saugus (6-7-6, 3-1-5, 14 points) dropped the top dog in the league, picking up a 1-0 win over Canyon (10-8-2, 6-2-1, 19 points) at home.

“This league is so competitive that really every game is a toss-up,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller, “I’m just glad we finally came out of another one of these without a tie.”

The lone goal of the game came in the 35th minute when Saugus sophomore Erick Esquivel knocked home one of 13 Centurion first half-shots on goal.

Saugus controlled the field battle for most of the game and especially in the first half when Canyon head coach Khris Savage opted to start many of his senior reserves over his younger front-liners.

“There are 22 kids on this team, and I could not be happier with how everyone played today,” Savage said. “I never in my wildest dreams thought we would have a chance to get everyone out there with two games to go. I’ve been coaching for 18 years, and my teams have never been in this position. I doubt we’ll ever be fortunate enough to be in this spot again.”

Canyon was unable to muster much offense in a second half dominated by both teams’ defense. Neither squad registered a legitimate scoring threat as most of the last 40 minutes was played in the heart of the field.

“We showed today that we deserve a spot in the playoffs,” Groller said. “As long as we work on our finishing then I think we’ll be a factor.”

Savage plans to employ a similar rotation for senior day against Valencia, while Saugus hosts Hart in its regular season finale.

“We’re happy we were able to get some guys who have put a lot of work into this program out there today, but we still take it as a loss,” Savage said. “We’re going to work our hardest to win this next one and get some momentum going into the playoffs.”



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