Saugus senior Alexa Olsen couldn’t have delivered her 60th goal of the season at a more opportune time for Centurions’ girls lacrosse.
The Cents were pushed to overtime by the Hart Indians, where Olsen hit the golden goal to end the game 10-9. Olsen was awarded two penalty shots in the extra period. The senior took some bumps on both attempts but would not be denied her game-winner on the second attempt.
“The last goal, it really was just adrenaline running through my whole body,” Olsen said. “I was thinking they can either crush me or I can run in and shoot it. Sometimes you just have to shoot, you don’t think sometimes.”
Olsen led the Centurions with four goals in potentially her varsity finale. Sierra Young and Gabby Martinez each tallied two goals for Saugus.
Hart’s comeback was spoiled after the Indians showed some grit tying the game after trailing by two goals with less than five minutes left in the game. Indians forward Isabella DePaco led the second-half surge with three goals, including the game-tying goal that forced overtime.
DePaco’s play was set up by Indians goalie Alisa Keawprasert, who made a game-saving play in goal before sending a long pass down field to set up the equalizer.
The game was back and forth from the start as neither team could get comfortable. The teams were also tied at halftime with a 4-4 score.
Saugus made some adjustments during halftime, and quickly scored two goals. The Centurions’ first year coach Ryan Olsen has seen his team’s passing abilities increase throughout the season and thinks they displayed that on Wednesday.
“We’ve definitely worked on passing, getting our players open and cutting,” Ryan said. “It’s a team effort, you can’t play hero ball. When you work together as a team, you’ll see success.”
Goalie Marie Morcos also came to play in her potential varsity finale. The senior came up with 11 saves to keep her team tied or in front for the entire second half.
“It’s not just me, it’s my defense,” Morcos said. “Without me telling them what to do, without them listening to me, then we wouldn’t have won that game. We have to work as a unit. We have to bring our minds together at the same time in order to stop the ball and get it to the other side for the offense. If that doesn’t happen, then we’re screwed.”
Morcos and the defense struggled against Hart in the teams’ first go-around. Saugus won the game 9-6 but Morcos again praised her defense for their strides this season.
“I remember when we first played them, our defense was all over the place,” Morcos said. “We didn’t know how to take their kind of offense but we’ve been practicing. We’ve been working hard. We know what they’re doing. And we know how to stop them.”
Coach Olsen stepped into the head coaching role over the summer and was able to coach his daughter Alexa and see her 60th score of the year go in for a golden goal.
“Well, first of all it’s a little emotional because it’s my kid,” Ryan said. “So, to see all the hard work she’s put in, she lives and breathes this. She’s a good lacrosse player, but she’s a better person.”
Both teams have taken some lumps in the early years of their programs but have shown tons of positive signs for the future of lacrosse at Hart and Saugus.
“We went 1-12 last year,” Ryan said. “My senior had won a total of three games in her entire three years at Saugus. So, to go 7-9 in one year, it’s a huge leap, which is fantastic. And with the young crew that we have I think we can only go up.”
Saugus will await the release of the CIF brackets on Saturday at 11 a.m. to see if its season will move into the playoffs with an at-large bid. Whether the Centurions make the postseason or not, the group is jubilant over this foundational year for the program.
“It feels amazing,” Morcos said. “There are no other words to describe how this feels. I’ve never won like this before with Saugus. This team has had so many ups and downs and I’m so glad that this year we’re finally able to pull it together … I’m hoping that defense just takes what I taught them this year and applies it because I’ve been here for four years and now I’m not going to be here so they have to step it up. I hope offense takes from Alexa and Maddie Nuttall. I just hope we carry on this winning streak into next year. And I’ll be watching from college.”