Set pieces are the best pieces; Valencia and Saugus girls soccer ties

Dan Watson/The Signal

Valencia and Saugus girls soccer concluded in another draw Thursday night at Valencia High School, this time ending 1-1.

The Vikings (4-6-5 overall, 0-2-4 league) were in control of much of the game. They even struck first on a set piece goal. Isabelle Goralsky took a free kick for herself and drove it towards the goal. It deflected off of a Saugus defender and Alyssa Raffi charged in. She hammered a shot that had no chance of being stopped.

“I was just happy to score a goal in league,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Goralsky. “It really fired everybody up. The players were excited. It really uplifted the whole team.”

The Vikings have dealt with many woes this season, and scoring early against Saugus (7-3-5, 2-0-4) was the first step the fixing their problems.

“(I’m) just proud of my team,” Goralsky said. “Luck hasn’t been going our way this season. Proud of them for giving it 100%, not getting our heads down and showing up to play every game.”

For the rest of the game, the Valencia defense stayed strong and looked as if they were going to come away with their first league win this season.  As things looked grim for the Centurions, they lined up for a corner kick.

The clock with ticking and the final whistle was ready to blow. Katie Russell delivered the kick high and to the center. Presley Williams charged forward and leaped for the header and as a result, the equalizer.

“Relief,” said Saugus head coach Kevin Miner. “We squeaked the tie out of it.”

Set pieces are always key moments in any soccer match. Thursday night, they proved the be two of the biggest moments of the match. 

“That was the story of the game. They executed on one and we executed on one,” Miner said.

Both teams will return to the pitch on Tuesday. Valencia will travel to Hart and play at 3:15 p.m. Saugus will return home to host West Ranch. That game will be at 3:15 p.m. as well.

“I just want to worry about the game,” Goralsky said. “I want them to come in with the same mindset as they did against Saugus.”

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