Shutout earns Saugus boys soccer second quarterfinal in a row

Saugus' Frank Ornellas (26) celebrates the Centurions' victory over Culver City during a CIF playoff game at Saugus on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

In honor of Saugus High boys soccer’s second-round CIF-Southern Section Division 4 playoff appearance, a handful of players shaved their numbers into the side of their heads.

“Not everybody got it,” said goalkeeper Matt Sayers. “Unfortunately some of the team is a little too concerned about their hair. This could be my last playoff game. You never know. I just wanted to make it the best one.”

The Centurions (15-6-4) might want to consider getting fresh cuts for the remainder of playoffs, as the team shut out Culver City 2-0 at home on Wednesday afternoon to advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

PHOTOS: Saugus defeats Culver City at home

It’s Saugus’ third consecutive shutout and 11th overall of the season.

But before the back line could really flaunt its skills, the offense dominated in the first half.

“We just stuck to our game plan which was just move the ball,” said Saugus’ Jaydon Willsey. “We knew that they were going to pressure us a lot so we knew that we had to be quick and get the ball off our feet.”

The attack provided a one-two punch halfway through the first half.

First, James Johnson scored his 25th goal of the season in the 18th minute after slicing through the Culver City defense and bypassing its keeper.

Then, in the 22nd minute, Willsey capitalized on a throw-in by Isaac Nua and directed a header into the net.

“We rehearse it in practice all the time, so I knew that we were going to get a good opportunity,” Willsey said of his fifth goal of the season. “I just went up and scored.”

The pressure switched in the second half, with the Centaurs (20-7) breaking into Saugus defensive territory, drawing fouls and, consequently, set pieces.

“I feel like we responded well,” said Cents coach Seth Groller. “It did disrupt the rhythm, but with set pieces comes a little bit of time on the clock as well. So it’s one of those things where you don’t want them, but there is a silver lining.”

Saugus’ next game will be a quarterfinal matchup on the road against Colony High of Ontario.

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