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Pro soccer: Blue Heat fire back

Coming off close loss, Santa Clarita dominates Victoria

Posted: June 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Blue Heat team is used to starting over.

In its third year as the only United Soccer League W-League team in town, the pieces are still being put together.

But Sunday’s emphatic 6-0 victory over the Victoria Highlanders at Valencia High School is a sign of it all moving in the right direction.

Especially since it came after the Blue Heat lost two of its first three games to start the season.

Santa Clarita head coach Charles Martinez, the squad’s third head coach in as many years, was happy with what he saw from what he calls the most talented Blue Heat roster ever.

“Individually, I think we have more balanced players,” said Martinez, who was an assistant under former head coach Fabian Sandoval a year ago. “Last year, we had a solid group of kids that had been playing together for a couple years and they understood each other playing on the field, and that helped us a lot.”

Martinez also coaches the Golden Valley High varsity girls soccer team.

On Sunday, the team got help from lots of places as six goals were scored by six different players.

Rachel Nuzzolese put Santa Clarita (2-2) ahead quickly when she scored in the first four minutes of the game.

By the 14th minute, two more scores by Laura Luis and Ana Borges had the Blue Heat in front 3-0, which was the mark by halftime.

“We dominated the whole game,” Martinez said. “They use a lot of space to control and dominated the whole way through.”

In the second half, the Blue Heat added on when Edite Fernandes knocked in a penalty kick in the 68th minute. That was followed by a Nadia Link goal a minute later and Stacey Rodwell capped off the day’s scoring when she found the back of the net in the 72nd minute.

Victoria (1-8) came into the game second-to-last in the eight-team Western Conference standings, so Sunday’s win was an important one for Santa Clarita, the defending conference champions.

“Emotionally, I think that’s the game we needed to win because this one is going to put us up at the next level,” Martinez said.

Santa Clarita has 10 games remaining on its regular season schedule, which runs through mid-July. The Blue Heat next face the Colorado Rapids Women on Thursday in Commerce City, Colo.



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