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CIF soccer: All it takes is one

Hebert’s save, Cents’ five PKs lead to win

Posted: February 18, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 18, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Saugus goalkeeper Maddie Hebert stops a penalty kick against Tesoro on Friday at Saugus High School. Saugus goalkeeper Maddie Hebert stops a penalty kick against Tesoro on Friday at Saugus High School.
Saugus goalkeeper Maddie Hebert stops a penalty kick against Tesoro on Friday at Saugus High School.

Three goals had already whizzed past Saugus goal keeper Maddie Hebert.

Her team was deadlocked through three penalty kicks with Tesoro High of Rancho Santa Margarita in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs, and she knew it was time to make a save.

And so she did.

Hebert cooly knocked away Taylor Thurmond’s kick to give the Centurions a lead, and senior Serena Smith-Banas kicked in the final penalty kick to give Saugus a 1-1 (5-4 PKs) victory on Friday afternoon at Saugus High School.

“It was almost like I was alone,” Hebert said. “It was just (Thurmond) and I.”

The Centurions (19-3-4) found themselves in penalty kicks after a tight, back-and-forth affair saw both teams find numerous chances, and both teams unable to capitalize on them.

Saugus jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute when Smith-Banas sent a goal kick to Angie Weiner down the right sideline. Weiner beat a defender and sent a pass ahead to Brenna Savoie, who outran the defense and buried a shot past goalie Kendall Donaldson.

That run came seconds after Tesoro saw a header bounce off the crossbar and over the endline.

The Titans (10-8-3) controlled the run of play for the next ten minutes, threatening to score the equalizer.

Saugus ended that stretch with its best chance of the game to add to its lead. With 20 minutes left in the half, Stacey Atwater — playing in her first game since Jan. 21 after breaking her collarbone — sent a shot left-to-right that hit the crossbar. The ball bounced to Jenna Mears, who controlled, shot and also struck against the crossbar.

As the minutes ticked away in the second half, the Titans continued to push forward and look for the equalizer.

With just under 15 minutes remaining in the match and the Centurions trying to hold on to their slim lead, the Titans’ Hannah Lopiccolo turned her back to the net just outside the 18-yard box and searched for an opening.

Lopiccolo found the opening she was looking for, turned from 24 yards out, and struck far right to tie the game at one goal apiece.

The Centurions were close to ending things in the first golden goal, ten-minute extra period.

Smith-Banas took a free kick from 50-yards out that sailed deep into the box, but was headed just wide midway through the period.

It was the best chance for either team over the two extra periods.

The victory marks the first time a Foothill League school has won a playoff game in Division I play. The 2010-11 season was the Foothill’s first in Division I.

Saugus will try to make it two victories when it will face San Clemente at San Clemente High on Wednesday.

“I feel like we finally got what we deserve,” Helgeson said. “We’ve been hit with so much negative events to this point. I feel so relieved for the girls. They laid it all out and to finally get that win — we won when it mattered most.”


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