Tuesday signified the start of Foothill League play for girls’ soccer.
Quite possibly the most intriguing matchup on opening day was between Valencia and Saugus at Saugus High School. A hard-fought physical match ended in a 0-0 tie and left more questions than it did answers.
“I’m real happy with where we’re at, at this point,” said Saugus head coach Kevin Miner. “It’s a start to the season.”
The Centurions and Vikings are two of the closest matched teams in the Foothill League this year both within a game of each other and nearly identical in goal scoring. Where Saugus separates itself from the Vikings is in its defense. Saugus has only allowed seven goals to Valencia’s 14.
Throughout the entire match, the Centurions put pressure on the Valencia defense forcing them to react rather than act. Whenever the Vikings were able to take over possession and formulate an attack on the Saugus goal, its backline would create headaches for the Vikings.
“At practice we run a lot and we train hard,” said Saugus defender Grace Seitz. “We keep our endurance throughout the game so we can press hard the entire game, not just the beginning of the halves.”
The first 10 minutes of play were all Saugus. The ball rarely crossed midfield into Valencia territory. However, the Centurions struggled to take advantage of the pace their offense set as the Vikings defense stood strong and thwarted the constant attack.
“Our defense played awesome tonight,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Goralsky. “I knew they we’re going to send it a lot from their backline. I thought our defense played phenomenal. They played well as a unit together.”
Valencia was able to flip the script in the 14th minute. Senior Brandi Reid had a solid juke against Seitz to move the Vikings into striking distance. Seitz recovered to knock the ball out of bounds and kill the momentum.
Although the attack was stopped, the Vikings grasped the momentum of the match and were able to string together a few attempts at taking the lead.
Saugus quickly took control of the game back again. It continued to press the Vikings for the remainder of the half but failed to score. At half, both teams were scoreless.
The second half was much of the same. Saugus came out the gate attacking again. However, Valencia refused to be pushed around for much longer.
In the 51st minute, Italia Cavallo snuck past the defense to take a shot from the corner of the 18-yard box. The ball soared towards the top-right corner of the net only to make contact with the corner of the goal post and bounce away.
Throughout the second half, the Viking attack found ways to finally break through the Saugus backline, but came up short on their shots. Viking forwards were visibly frustrated with the missed opportunities.
“It was difficult to connect passes sometime,” Reid said. “It was difficult to score.”
However, Saugus dealt with miscues of its own as well. In the closing minutes, the Centurions had many chances to place a stunning shot on the Valencia defense and walk away with a win, but missed many opportunities as well.
Both teams continue league play on Thursday against tough opponents. Valencia will take a trip to Newhall to take on a tough Hart team at 5:00 p.m. and Saugus will head to West Ranch to play the Wildcats who have a few tricks up their sleeves at 3:15 p.m.
Hart 8, Golden Valley 0
Alyssa Irwin logged a hat trick and Maggie Yoshioka scored two goals for the Indians (12-1-2) in the win. Jessica Deegan, Stefani Woll and Liz Magana each scored one goal apiece.
Hart plays at Valencia at 5 p.m. on Thursday and Golden Valley (4-4-1, 0-1) is at Canyon on the same day at the same time.
West Ranch 0, Canyon 0
The Wildcats stand at 5-5-2 overall and 0-0-1 in Foothill League, while the Cowboys are 0-4-2 and 0-0-1.