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The Cowboys’ big one: Canyon to face Valencia for title

Canyon eliminates Saugus from league title contention; now one game to go

Posted: February 11, 2009 2:31 a.m.
Updated: February 11, 2009 4:58 a.m.

Canyon's Malaya Cabrera (4) heads the ball toward the goal as Saugus' Heather Pilch (2) and Shasta Fisher (1) defend Tuesday at Canyon High.

 
Entering Tuesday, three teams were tied atop the Foothill League girls soccer standings.

Thanks to Canyon forward Elvia Contreras’ goal in the 53rd minute at Harry Welch Stadium, Saugus has been eliminated from title contention.

After a brief skirmish in front of the net, the Centurions defense attempted to clear the ball, but Contreras was in the right place at the right time to volley it home.

There was nothing Saugus goalkeeper Bianca Lorenz could do as the ball deflected past her.

“It wasn’t a great goal, but it was a goal of passion and persistence,” Canyon head coach Eric White said.

With the win, the Cowboys (15-4-2, 7-1-1, 22 points) move three points ahead of the Centurions (15-3-4, 6-2-1, 19 points) in the standings.

Canyon can win the title outright with a win at Valencia on Thursday.

The Vikings (15-6-2, 7-1-1, 22 points) beat Golden Valley 11-1 earlier in the afternoon to maintain their share of first place.

Immediately following the goal, Saugus pushed ahead and looked as though they might get the equalizer.

Centurion Nicole Penick took the through ball past the defense with only Canyon keeper Alex Krall to beat.

Krall came off her line to meet Penick and deflected the point-blank shot wide.

“They had a couple good opportunities, but Alex came up huge. Huge,” White said. “There is not a bigger save by a keeper in the entire Foothill League than that save today. Breakaway, one-on-one. We had a huge miscommunication in the back. You have to give them credit. They kept fighting.”

For Krall and the Cowboys’ defense, the shutout was their seventh in nine league games.

Krall came into the season sharing time with Kristen Grunhold, but since the start of league play, she has only given up two goals.

“I do it for the team,” Krall said. “I have to go my hardest. I know (my teammates) are already going their hardest, so I want to be just as good. ... I need to do my part.”

Saugus controlled the first half but could not put the ball past Krall.

In the second half, Canyon picked up the tempo and made good on their opportunity.

“I feel like we lost this game,” said Saugus head coach Lisa Rollo. “The intensity of the game took our girls out of the way we normally play, which is passing. We did a little bit more of ‘boot ball,’ which we don’t play. We started chasing instead of passing. We just kind of panicked a little bit.”

Both Jamie Molacek and Shasta Fisher sustained ankle injuries for Saugus in the game.

Now the Centurions turn their attention to Hart, who they will play on Thursday.

pputignano@the-signal.com

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