Saugus girls soccer goalkeeper Hailey Billesbach wished for nothing more than to beat Valencia.
But the Cents’ motto has been “Don’t wish for it. Work for it.” So the team worked their way to a 1-0 win against the Vikings at home on Tuesday, their first victory over Valencia since Jan. 16, 2015.
“Honestly beating Valencia has been my dream since freshman year,” Billesbach said. “This year we played them twice so far and both of those times we lost. This time we just pulled through and it’s a great feeling.”
Billesbach, who completed her third game as keeper after coming back from a concussion, was part of a defense that protected a 1-0 lead throughout the second half.
Valencia (12-8-2 overall, 5-3-1 in Foothill) came out sluggish to start the game, but still managed to make a home for itself in front of the net, firing 12 shots in the first half.
But it was Saugus’ Breeana San Lucas who capitalized on a turnover and dribbled the ball to the center of the box and scored with 2:05 left in the first half.
“(During) the halftime talk, I wanted to make sure the girls kept the energy they had (all half), not to go out just the first five minutes of the second half with the same exact energy,” said Saugus coach Aly Drake.
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The Cents (7-11-4, 3-3-3) switched to a defensive mindset for the remainder of the game, protecting the lead by bulking up the back line and midfield.
The Vikings, which can’t catch Hart now, couldn’t fight their way through.
“It comes to a point where you can’t force them to play the way you want,” said Valencia coach Kevin Goralsky. “If they don’t have it, then they don’t have it.”
Saugus muddled through preleague and improved throughout league, but were still waiting for their breakthrough moment.
This might have been it.
“We had our ups and downs, but we’ve just kind of been a team that just wants to work hard, work for each other and go out and have fun,” Drake said.
West Ranch 5, Canyon 2
Erin Meottel had three goals for the Wildcats, while Aliyah Satterfield and Ali Spare each added one. Jill Maglio and Isa Rector both scored for the Cowboys. West Ranch is 10-4-6 overall and 4-1-4 in league and Canyon is 7-12-2 and 3-5-1.