For the second time this season, the Saugus and West Ranch boys soccer teams battled for 80-minutes and played to a 0-0 draw at West Ranch High School on Tuesday.
The game began fast with Saugus forward David Chambers and midfielder Connor Claborn finding each other in tight spaces.
Mark Beale and Rieghly Burke consistently backed them up by controlling the middle of the pitch, but still, Saugus (7-5-4 overall, 1-2-4) couldn’t break through and score a goal.
“He’s one of our center-mids and does a solid job, his work ethic motivates others and that’s what you want,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller about Burke. “He’s a junior and is one of our junior captains and that’s one of the reasons we selected him because of his work ethic, his intensity and desire. He’s just one of those players that you want to play with because he motivates you and gets everybody to play at a higher level.”
Saugus goalkeeper John Garcia made two pivotal point-blank saves in the 13th minute of play and in the 21st minute to keep the game tied.
West Ranch (4-8-3, 1-4-2) forward John Swanson crossed a ball into the Saugus penalty box, Daniel Bebekien got a touch, made a half turn and took a shot, but Garcia corralled the attempt.
The second stop was on a Swanson rebound just feet from the goal, but Garcia made a kick-save.
“They had one very good opportunity, he ended up with the kick-save,” Groller said about Garcia. “Last year, he was a field player for us and this year he’s played keeper for us and has come up huge time and time again. We have allowed the fewest goals in league, so far and he’s a big part of that.”
West Ranch goalkeeper Eduardo Corretjer almost saw a long-range shot from Burke drop into his net in the 27th minute of play, but punched the ball over the crossbar.
With West Ranch defender Ben Rice out with an apparent shoulder injury, junior defender Ethan Bolita and senior Gabriel Quinonez stepped up to calm multiple Saugus attacks throughout the game.
“Like our theme, ‘Next man up’,” said West Ranch head coach Mike Kane. “I don’t think it changed the dynamics at all. We lose a big throw-in without having Ben, but the other guys are fine.”
Wildcats forward Jacob Gendein looked re-energized in the second half and maneuvered his way into West Ranch territory, but time and time again, the drive stalled.
After Saugus forward Alec Fryer went down just feet in front of the West Ranch 18-yard box, it looked as if the free-kick would inevitably end up in the back of the goal.
Burke lined up to take the shot, but his low-rolling shot was stopped by the West Ranch wall.
West Ranch finished the game on the offensive with two late-game pushes, but Saugus denied them and the game ended in a draw.
With the finish, Saugus remains in fifth place in the Foothill League standings, while West Ranch sits in sixth place.
“I think we did a lot of things well,” Groller said. “When it comes down to it, the way we move the ball is great. Building up, especially up to our attacking third we do a pretty solid job. Defensively, we are not allowing a ton of goals all year, but we have been struggling at finishing. You can’t win a game when you have such a tough time putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Canyon 3, Golden Valley 1
Golden Valley (8-7-2 overall, 2-4-1 Foothill League) led at the half after a goal by Jacob Davila with the assist from Pablo Luna.
Canyon (9-9, 3-3) turned things around in the second half after Golden Valley defender Brian Romo went down in the 25th minute and scored three unanswered goals.
Fernando Sanchez scored two with one being assisted by Edward Quijano and Jarrett Reeser scored the third with the assist from Samuel Roque.
Hart 0, Valencia 0
Hart (14-2-2 overall, 4-1-2 Foothill League) stays atop the Foothill League standings.
Valencia (5-2-6, 3-0-4) remains in second place.