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Journey ends in Clovis

Buchanan beats Saugus to end the Centurions’ historic postseason run

Posted: March 11, 2009 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 11, 2009 4:55 a.m.
CLOVIS – No team has ever accomplished what Saugus girls soccer has this season.

After winning the Santa Clarita Valley’s first outright CIF-Southern Section Divisional soccer title, the Centurions ran into a team that had won four straight division championships.

Saugus fell to Buchanan of Clovis 3-2 at Keith Tice Memorial Field in Clovis Tuesday in the first round of the CIF-Southern California Regional Division I playoffs, ending its season and run in the history books.

“It’s a combination of playing on grass, we are playing with unfamiliar refs, and we are playing with a team we don’t know much about,” said Centurions head coach Lisa Rollo. “A couple calls just didn’t go our way. I don’t want to make excuses. We just got beat today.”

Saugus (20-4-3) held possession and pushed the pace for most of the first half, but seemed to fatigue late.

In the second, Buchanan (26-3-1) capitalized on an offside non-call when Bears senior Anisa Guajardo pushed a through-ball past the Saugus defense to junior Kacey Held.

Held juked Centurion goalkeeper Bianca Lorenz one-on-one, who was forced to come off her line, and flicked the ball to the left and into the goal for what proved to be the game-winner.

Though it may be the end of their season, Rollo believes this year was just the beginning for the Saugus girls soccer program.

“I’m proud of them,” Rollo said. “I’m proud of the dynasty they have started. It’s not over now. We have years to come of people hearing about Saugus, and this team started that. “

Junior Jamie Molacek is one player who will look to make sure that happens.

Molacek scored both of Saugus’ goals, including the opening goal a mere minute into the game.

Fellow junior Brittanie Sakajian dropped a pass a step behind the Bears defense and Molacek hammered it home.

However, the Bears responded with two set-piece goals to end the first half.

The first came in the 29th minute when Buchanan’s Lauren Kelly sent the corner kick into the box to Guajardo, who out-jumped the defense to head the ball to the back of the net.

With seconds remaining in the first half, Kelly again took a corner, and this time she recorded an unassisted goal when the ball found its way past Lorenz to give Buchanan a 2-1 halftime lead.

“For us to turn that first half around and get that goal in the last minute was a good swap, the beginning minute with the final minute,” said Buchanan head coach Erik Farfan.

Saugus responded quickly in the second half when Molacek tallied her second goal of the game – her 22nd of the year and fourth of the postseason.

But that was all the Centurions could muster on the offensive end, despite their early control.

“We possessed the ball for most of the game,” said senior Erin Ortega. “It is just disappointing that we had all those chances and we never finished them, except for what (Molacek) did.”

A couple of final flurries from point-blank range nearly gave Saugus the equalizer, but nothing could find its way past the Bears’ defense.

With the loss, Saugus says goodbye to four seniors, including Ortega, Heather Pilch, Shannon Suarez and Amanda Hill.

“I know we made history, but I just wanted to keep going and keep fighting,” Pilch said, fighting back tears. “It’s my last year and I just wanted to be a part of so much more.”

Pilch kept the game within range in the final minutes, deflecting the ball wide on what would have been an open goal.

“It’s an outstanding team,” Rollo said of her squad. “If you look at them, they have great character on and off the field. Regardless of who our opponent is, we are always good sportsmen.”

The Bears may have taken the game, but no one can take away what Saugus accomplished this year.

The Centurions’ 14 returnees will look to build on the season’s success.

“I think all of our underclassmen can take it to the next level and do it again next year,” Molacek said after the game. “We all have the leadership and qualities to do it again next year.”


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