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Tough one to decide

Posted: March 6, 2009 1:32 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.
You can throw out the story about Saugus finishing third in the Foothill League and making it all the way to the CIF-Southern Section Division II girls soccer final.

It’s just not unique.

Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood, the Centurions’ opponent tonight at 7:30 at Warren High in Downey, finished third in the Mission League.

A lot of things won’t be unique to each team tonight.

The crux of tonight’s game is that each squad is a lot like the other.

“I couldn’t call this one,” said Wolverines’ fourth-year head coach Richard Simms. “I wouldn’t predict a result one way or another.”

Simms explained that his team doesn’t rely on one or two girls, like Saugus.

It played in a tough league that was anybody’s to win, like Saugus.

And it caught heat at the right time, like Saugus.

For Harvard-Westlake, the roll began in the playoffs.

The Wolverines lost their final league game 2-1 to Chaminade on Feb. 11.

They have since gone on to out-score four playoff opponents 11-3.

One difference between the teams could be Harvard-Westlake’s league.

If the Foothill League was competitive this year, what would you call the Mission League?

League champion Flintridge Sacred Heart was Division II’s No. 1 seeded team in the playoffs.

Second-place Chaminade was the No. 2 seeded team.

Fourth-place Notre Dame knocked off No. 4 seeded St. Lucy’s in the first round of the playoffs.

“For us, our priority has always been CIF (playoffs),” Simms said. “We didn’t play our best soccer in league, but we rounded into form in the playoffs.”

Saugus, though, knocked off Flintridge Sacred Heart in the second round.

The Centurions got their roll going after a 1-0 loss to Canyon on Feb. 10, which essentially cost the Centurions the league title.

In that game, the goal was a deflection after Saugus tried to clear the ball.

Since then, Saugus has out-scored its last five opponents 14-2.

“I think we’ve always had intensity, but once CIF playoffs came, we picked it up 100-times fold,” said Saugus head coach Lisa Rollo. “My girls are fearless. They’re not stopping. They have no hesitation. They’re not flinching. They are playing ’til they’re bleeding, sweating and crying after the game.”

So what will this game come down to?

Rollo says whoever makes the most mistakes.

Simms says the first team that scores might be the decider.

As for firepower, Harvard-Westlake has some.

Junior Haley Boysen has 13 goals and 12 assists.

Sophomore Katie Speidel has 14 goals.

Saugus can score, too.

Jamie Molacek and Erin Ortega each have 18 goals.

Both teams have stellar midfields and defenses.

But Harvard-Westlake has one thing the Centurions don’t.

Wolverines goalkeeper Clara Jaques, who has allowed just 12 goals this season, has the big-game experience.

As a freshman, she played in the CIF-Southern Section Division I championship game for the Harvard-Westlake, a 2-1 loss to national powerhouse that season Upland.

It still might be anyone’s game.


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