Saugus boys soccer still alive after defeating Lindsay in PKs

By Mason Nesbitt

Last update: Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

It’s a long, daunting list.

Over the last three weeks, Saugus High boys soccer has proven impervious to sideways rain, road trips, last-minute deficits, CIF title game defeats, pressure-packed penalty kicks, oh, and did we mention road trips.

The Centurions, winners of two double-overtime games already this postseason, traveled to Lindsay High, near Fresno, and beating the host Cardinals 3-3 (4-2 in penalty kicks) to advance to the semifinals of the CIF SoCal Regional Division 4 playoffs.

Jeremy Hindigian scored the game-winning PK to earn Saugus a road matchup with No. 1 seed Citrus Hill of Perris on Thursday.

“That was a crazy, crazy game,” said Saugus coach Seth Groller, whose team lost to Bellflower on Friday in the Southern Section D4 title game.

The Centurions (18-7-4) rebounded strong.

Saugus led 2-1 at half, trailed 3-2 late and forced overtime on Wyatt Vradenberg’s header off a Frank Ornelas corner kick in the 71st minute.

Two scoreless extra periods gave way to more Saugus magic.

Centurion Matt Sayers kicked first and had his shot blocked. His day wasn’t over, though. He also serves as Saugus’ goalie.

“He says he likes to go first as a kicker, and if he makes it, then he wants to hang on to the lead for his team,” Groller said. “And if he were to miss, that just gives him more motivation to do everything he possibly can to stop PKs against them.”

Lindsay’s first kicker scored. Then Sayers came up with two highlight saves.

Tanner Brown, Josh De Leon and Vradenberg each made their shots, leaving Hindigian to slam the door after Lindsay’s fourth kicker scored.

“I was really confident,” Hindigian said. “That was the spot I wanted to be in. I told everyone before we started that I wanted the last PK.”

MORE: British goalie Sayers has been stellar for Saugus

He got it and he made it.

“I like to think I knew it was going in before I shot it,” he said. “But as soon as I hit it, I knew (it was going in).”

It was the latest playoff twist for a Saugus team that outlasted Highland of Palmdale on Feb. 17 in a downpour and survived Norwalk in the Southern Section semifinals only after Brown’s 49-yard free kick goal in the final two minutes of regulation sent the game to overtime.

Saugus made it to overtime Tuesday behind first half goals by James Johnson, his 27th of the year, and Josh De Leon.

Then Vradenberg provided the equalizer late.

In the regional playoffs, the higher seed automatically gets the home game. So No. 5-seed Saugus will make the 100-mile trip to Perris on Thursday to take on Citrus Hill, champion of the Southern Section’s Division 5 playoffs.

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Saugus boys soccer still alive after defeating Lindsay in PKs

Dan Watson/The Signal

It’s a long, daunting list.

Over the last three weeks, Saugus High boys soccer has proven impervious to sideways rain, road trips, last-minute deficits, CIF title game defeats, pressure-packed penalty kicks, oh, and did we mention road trips.

The Centurions, winners of two double-overtime games already this postseason, traveled to Lindsay High, near Fresno, and beating the host Cardinals 3-3 (4-2 in penalty kicks) to advance to the semifinals of the CIF SoCal Regional Division 4 playoffs.

Jeremy Hindigian scored the game-winning PK to earn Saugus a road matchup with No. 1 seed Citrus Hill of Perris on Thursday.

“That was a crazy, crazy game,” said Saugus coach Seth Groller, whose team lost to Bellflower on Friday in the Southern Section D4 title game.

The Centurions (18-7-4) rebounded strong.

Saugus led 2-1 at half, trailed 3-2 late and forced overtime on Wyatt Vradenberg’s header off a Frank Ornelas corner kick in the 71st minute.

Two scoreless extra periods gave way to more Saugus magic.

Centurion Matt Sayers kicked first and had his shot blocked. His day wasn’t over, though. He also serves as Saugus’ goalie.

“He says he likes to go first as a kicker, and if he makes it, then he wants to hang on to the lead for his team,” Groller said. “And if he were to miss, that just gives him more motivation to do everything he possibly can to stop PKs against them.”

Lindsay’s first kicker scored. Then Sayers came up with two highlight saves.

Tanner Brown, Josh De Leon and Vradenberg each made their shots, leaving Hindigian to slam the door after Lindsay’s fourth kicker scored.

“I was really confident,” Hindigian said. “That was the spot I wanted to be in. I told everyone before we started that I wanted the last PK.”

MORE: British goalie Sayers has been stellar for Saugus

He got it and he made it.

“I like to think I knew it was going in before I shot it,” he said. “But as soon as I hit it, I knew (it was going in).”

It was the latest playoff twist for a Saugus team that outlasted Highland of Palmdale on Feb. 17 in a downpour and survived Norwalk in the Southern Section semifinals only after Brown’s 49-yard free kick goal in the final two minutes of regulation sent the game to overtime.

Saugus made it to overtime Tuesday behind first half goals by James Johnson, his 27th of the year, and Josh De Leon.

Then Vradenberg provided the equalizer late.

In the regional playoffs, the higher seed automatically gets the home game. So No. 5-seed Saugus will make the 100-mile trip to Perris on Thursday to take on Citrus Hill, champion of the Southern Section’s Division 5 playoffs.

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt is The Santa Clarita Valley Signal's Sports Editor.