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Third place, who cares?

Foothill league’s third-place team is last one standing in the postseason

Posted: February 25, 2009 12:57 a.m.
Updated: February 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus' Shannon Suarez, right, heads the ball toward the goal in a duel with Jillian Jacobs (12) of Flintridge Sacred Hart Tuesday at Saugus High.

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Saugus girls soccer advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs Tuesday with a 1-0 win over No. 1-seeded Flintridge Sacred Heart at Saugus High.

After 73 scoreless minutes, Ysabel Padron knocked home a put back for the lone goal of the game to give the Centurions (18-3-4) the deciding score.

"It was awesome that our girls kept fighting for loose balls in the box because we had several chances that we couldn't put in," said Saugus head coach Lisa Rollo. "Finally, we got to knock one home."

The first half was a defensive struggle with few legitimate scoring chances for either team.

Saugus forward Jamie Molacek had a near miss in the 21st minute for the Cents' best chance, and Sacred Heart forward Jillian Jacobs slipped one past Bianca Lorenz in the 33rd minute, but the goal was called back because she ran into the Saugus goalie in the box.

"We had our shot, and I'm never one to blame the officials," said Sacred Heart head coach Frank Pace. "I thought the call could have gone either way, but they called it the way they called it."

Saugus controlled field position for much of the second half, and Lorenz contained any attempt Sacred Heart (16-5-4) managed to muster.

"We just had to listen to what our coach said at halftime," Padron said. "She said we needed to find a way to finish because we were going to get our chances."

The first big chance of the second half for Saugus came in the 58th minute when Shannon Suarez almost knocked in a deflection off a shot from Molacek, but the ball sailed just wide left of the net.

Molacek also had a good look in the 64th minute, but she was stymied by Sacred Heart keeper Dominique Oro.

Suarez barely missed another solid chance in the 68th minute when her breakaway shot skimmed just over the crossbar.

"At halftime, I asked the girls if they wanted this to be their last game of the season," Rollo said. "I knew we needed to step it up to win, and we did."

A big key for Saugus was its defense, led by Shasta Fisher, Heather Pilch, Colleen Ortega and Emily Relles.

The Saugus back line helped keep Sacred Heart on its heels for most of the final 40 minutes, opening the door for Padron's winning score.

"I'm proud of our team because I know we had the chance to win this game," Pace said. "Before this season there weren't any girls soccer (Mission) league banners hanging in our gym, and this year we earned the right to put one up there."

Saugus is now set up for a quarterfinals match against the winner of South Hills against Crescenta Valley on Thursday.

"I'm pleased with how we played, and we had the drive to finish this game," Padron said. "It's fabulous to be moving on. All I can say is, go Saugus."


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