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Centurions bound for second round

Manny Padron scores in sudden death to lift Cents over Pirates

Posted: February 20, 2009 11:50 p.m.
Updated: February 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Manny Padron snuck a shot into the net in the 109th minute Friday and Saugus opened the CIF-Southern Section Division III playoffs on the road with a 2-1 victory over Paramount.

After tying 1-1 through the end of regulation, neither team scored in the first two overtime sessions. The game then moved to a pair of sudden death overtime periods, and Padron scored late in the first.

"We did not quit," said Saugus head coach Seth Groller. "We played with a ton of heart, and you could tell that the goal was coming. We kept getting the chances. We were finally able to finish another one."

The Centurions (8-9-7) took an early lead in the 10th minute when Manuel Garza slotted a pass to the right side for Erick Esquivel, who beat his man one-on-one and cracked a shot to the far post.

Paramount leveled the score in the 27th minute off a laser strike from 35 yards out.

The Pirates fielded a quick team with plenty of individual talent that moved well without the ball.

"You've got to hand it to them," Groller said. "They're the (San Gabriel Valley) league champion, and it definitely showed. It was a very physical game."

Fortunately for Saugus, sweeper Chris Allen and stopper Matt Krilanovich organized the defense and limited open targets for Paramount's offense.

"They did a very good job for us defensively," Groller said.

Saugus keeper Pierre Diaz was up to the task as well, facing 23 shots and allowing just one goal.

"He had the game of his life," Groller said.

At the other end, Esquivel, Garza and Padron were generating scoring chances and narrowly missed the mark on several occasions in the second half.

The turf field at Paramount High School was 12 yards wider than the field at Saugus High, which Groller said played into his team's hands.

The Centurions will play again Wednesday against a team yet to be determined, but Groller felt it would likely be second-seeded Coachella Valley. The game would be played at Saugus High School.


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