Hart, Saugus girls soccer battle for first place

Kenna Gonzales (12) of Saugus and Ari Salvador (12) of Hart fight for the ball at mid-field at Hart High School on Tuesday, 120721. Dan Watson/The Signal

Saugus High School girls soccer rallied in the second half against Hart High School on Tuesday to tie the match, 2-2, after going scoreless in the first half.  

The Centurions (2-0) entered the match against the Hart Indians (1-1) undefeated in Foothill League and will maintain their first-place position due to the tie.  

Saugus’ girls soccer head coach Kevin Miner said it’s always a great matchup to play Hart, the team will continue to improve, and he looks forward to the rest of the season.  

“We’re still trying to clean things up and we’re going to get better,” Miner said. “Today, we knew was going be a tough one. Hart’s always a good program.”  

Hart would score first after finding space with Alexis Nguyen launching the ball into the net with just 11 minutes left in the first half. Then, in the second half, Maggie Yoshioka would score a goal in the first two minutes, keeping the Centurions at a two-goal deficit. 

“We’re able to keep the ball on the ground and connect passes,” Hart girls soccer head coach Brett Croft said. “I think that’s what led to our early goals.” 

Yoshioka would tap the ball in the goal, with Nguyen shielding the ball against a Saugus defender.  

“We knew that it was going to be a battle going into the second half … it’s always a good matchup, and we just knew we had to come out strong to match up with Saugus,” Yoshioka said. 

Croft said the Centurions “came out fighting,” and Saugus gave up an important goal on a corner kick. 

“I’m just blessed with extreme talent here and they did a great job finding each other,” Croft said. “They’re just very talented individuals and I’m just happy to coach them.” 

The momentum would quickly change with the Centurions finding their rhythm and responding to the Indians in the second half. Ashley Striegel scored the first goal for the Centurions, and minutes later, Maddie Robbins would score a second goal to tie the match. 

“I think the team wanted to win this game,” Striegel said. “We have confidence, power, and we just want to be in first place again.” 

Robbins said she was confident she would make the next goal for Saugus after finding her rhythm and the team’s momentum. 

“I think the first half we could have communicated a little better, but in the second half, we really picked it up and we had great energy,” Robbins said. 

Saugus appeared to score a goal on a header off of a corner kick, but the referee ruled the Centurions offsides and denied the goal, which would have put Saugus on top. 

“I’ll watch my film, but I don’t know if that was an offside on that third goal attempt,” Miner said. 

The Centurions return home on Friday to take on the Golden Valley Grizzlies at 3:15 p.m., and the Indians are scheduled to play a home game against Castaic at the same time. 

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