Valencia girls lacrosse snaps Saugus win streak  

Valencia midfielder Victoria Lee (36) runs with the ball against Saugus defender Jacie Bomar (5) during Wednesday's game on March 20 at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Valencia Vikings girls’ lacrosse had a total turn of the tides early on in its road league match with the Saugus Centurions. 

Valencia played tough defense and rode the hot stick of senior Olivia Fassino in the 10-6 win on Wednesday. 

Fassino outscored the Centurions (8-3-1, 1-1) and fired in seven goals — giving all the thanks to her team. 

“I’m feeling really good,” Fassino said. “It was definitely my teammates. We worked really well together and they definitely know me and know how I run around the field.”  

Valencia attacker Olivia Fassino (13) runs with the ball towards the net during Wednesday’s game against Saugus on March 20. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Saugus jumped out to a lightning-quick 2-0 lead in the first two minutes. The Centurions attacked well in what looked like a blowout early. 

However, Valencia (4-6, 1-1) responded immediately and fired in six first-half goals, and eventually swapped spots in a two-goal deficit with Saugus. Vikes coach Andy Steier saw an overall team win from his attacker up top to the defense holding it down in the back. 

“Olivia was amazing today,” Steier said. “We try to put the reins on her a little bit and get her some more assists, but with her speed, when it’s one-v-one and she’s got it, she takes it. I’m also proud of my middies, going back and forth, playing a non-selfish game and getting back on defense, which is critical for this team.” 

Senior Laney Steier sparked the scoring and netted the first Viking goal of the day after a long possession leading Valencia to amp up the pressure after each goal.  

Valencia gained more possession as the first half went on thanks to some tough defense. The Vikings rattled the Centurions’ attack, forcing dozens of loose balls and finding quick counters. 

“We’re turning (the season) around but our defense has been phenomenal all year,” said coach Steier. “That’s led by Remy Wong. She’s the anchor of that defense and they’ve really embraced the zone defense. They’re really grasping it and getting a better feel for it every game.” 

Saugus attacker Kierstyn Roberts (11) looks for an opening to pass against Valencia defense during Wednesday’s game on March 20 at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Saugus remained in striking distance throughout the game but just couldn’t close the gap. Centurion junior Gabrealle Martinez was tough to stop and fired in three goals against Valencia. Martinez has now scored three or more goals in four straight games and leads Saugus with 32 goals on the season. 

The Centurions never stopped applying pressure and playing a physical game. However, Fassino matched their energy through all four quarters. 

“I just feed off the other team’s energy,” Fassino said. “I’m definitely hurting after today. Saugus is probably the most aggressive team we’ve played this season. So you have to match their energy. You can’t let them beat you up, and I think that’s just what encouraged me.” 

The outcome of the game was uncertain for Steier. On top of being a tough Foothill League battle, Saugus was riding high as winners of five straight games while Valencia had dropped four in a row coming in. 

Steier is hoping that Wednesday’s win is the turning point in his team’s season that has shown plenty of flashes of greatness. 

Valencia midfielder Maya Yiadom (33) holds onto the ball against Saugus defense during Wednesday’s game against Saugus on March 20. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Valencia senior Maya Yiadom also added two goals for the Vikings, including the icing on top of the win, the 10th goal of the day. 

The Vikings will look to keep the offense rolling as the defense has shown it can carry the team through tough games.  

“Our defense is so good this year,” Fassino said. “We really know how to work together. They’re loud, they communicate. The defensive end this year is very, very good.” 

Saugus will likely bounce back from an off day and its first loss in over three weeks. Even in the loss, the Centurions are still rolling and have averaged less than five goals conceded in their last six outings. 

Saugus showed plenty of flashes of great defense, including a four-minute stretch of holding off a Valencia attack to open up the second quarter. 

Both teams return to Foothill League action on Wednesday at 3 p.m. when Saugus heads to Hart and West Ranch hosts Valencia. 

“I’m looking forward to continue building on playing as a team, transition and slowing down when they need to,” coach Steier said. 

Valencia celebrates winning against Saugus on Wednesday, March 20. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Valencia defender Lainey Steier (10) runs with the ball against Saugus defense during Wednesday’s game on March 20 at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

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