Saugus girls lacrosse finishes historic season 

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 girls’ lacrosse entered the season as a young program, with no records above .500, no playoff experience nor postseason wins. 

Despite losing several collegiate-bound senior players last season, the Centurion program reached new heights in 2024. 

Saugus finished the year 12-7-1, winning more games than the previous three years combined. 

The strong record landed the team its first playoff spot, a road match with the Woodrow Wilson Bruins. Saugus coach Ryan Olsen and assistant Chris Quinlan told their girls they just wanted to see effort with the team in uncharted waters. 

“We basically just told them, all we want is effort,” Olsen said in a phone interview. “If we lose and don’t give effort, we deserve to lose. But if we gave effort and they won, that just means that they were a better team. I thought if we gave maximum effort, we would come out with the W.” 

The Centurions battled some jitters to start and slipped into a quick 3-0 hole at Wilson. Saugus found its spark and responded after its first-ever half of playoff lacrosse with a standout performance. The Centurions dominated the second half of play, controlling possession and winning the second half, 8-1, to reach the team’s first postseason win, 12-6, on the road. 

The team pressured the ball all over the field, while freshman goalie Amelia Villanueva slowed down the Bruins’ attack with a 57% save rate. 

“They were pressuring the ball a lot and created some turnovers,” Olsen said. “Amelia, my freshman goalie, she’s amazing … They probably ran faster to their goalie than they probably ran the entire game. They were so ecstatic. The feeling of exuberance of where we came from until where we are now, it’s just a joy to see.” 

Junior Kierstyn Roberts finished the game with four goals and an assist. Gabrealle Martinez also added three goals and an assist while Kacey Quinlan and Taylor Robinson added two goals apiece. 

Saugus advanced into the second round, where it lost to the Pacific Coast champion Northwood Timberwolves, the sixth-ranked team in Division 6. 

The Centurions hit their stride early in the season but still finished the year playing well. Saugus lost just one game in a 10-game stretch early in the year, which included an impressive 7-6 win over the Cate Rams (11-5). 

Olsen’s original goal for the season was just to get the team above .500 until the run pushed the Centurions to an 8-1-2 record in March. 

“Our ultimate goal was to literally just be above .500, because we’ve never been there before,” Olsen said. “Last year was our best record, 7-9, and we just wanted to move one step ahead of that and start improving from there. Probably around maybe mid-April or so was when we really thought we had a chance to make it to playoffs.” 

Martinez led the team this regular season with 48 goals along with 10 assists. Quinlan added 38 goals and 10 assists while freshman Caroline Doran added 33 goals and a team-high 17 assists. They and the bulk of their teammates are set to return to Saugus for the 2025 season with another first in their sights, a Foothill League title.  

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