The Saugus experience

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “It’s a very experienced group and a very confident group, and (the seniors) want to make sure that they leave here with a league title.” Saugus features UNLV-bound forward Dani Morin and attacking midfielder Betsy Kyle, who has committed to Baylor, but the Centurions’ best asset might be their depth. Caitlyn Christie, Courtney Moses and Amanda Terry are strong finishers, and Saugus’ defense is led by Melanie Callewaert, Dana De Rousseau and Stephanie Lang in front of goalkeeper Laurel Riggin. Junior Jasmine Garcia and freshman Erin Ortega also play big roles. “They’re a very solid group and a very united group this year,” said Rollo, whose team reached the final of the Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo tournament. “But it’s going to be a battle, because right now it looks like every team is playing well.” The last time Saugus High won a Foothill League girls’ soccer title, most of the players on this year’s Centurions team were developing their skills in AYSO games. Since the 1994-95 season, Saugus has watched Canyon, Hart and Valencia enjoy runs atop the league standings. The Centurions have remained a perennial playoff qualifier the past decade, but they’re still looking for an elusive championship. With 11 seniors on its roster, Saugus has made it clear that merely qualifying for the Southern Section Div. II playoffs isn’t good enough this season. The Centurions want to end Canyon’s four-year reign as champion and enjoy a deep postseason run after being knocked out in the first round last year. “If we’re going to do it, it’s going to happen this year,” said second-year coach Lisa Rollo, who guided the Centurions to a 15-2-5 record but a third-place finish in league last season. Canyon – a quarterfinalist last season – is coming off a third-place finish in the Buena of Ventura tournament, in which it topped defending Div. II champion Buena in a shootout. Although Cowboys’ coach Steve Ladanyi has had to shuffle his lineup almost every game because of injuries, illness, academic commitments and college recruiting trips, Canyon has lost only once in 10 games. “Coming from a team that’s won league the past four years, I know what’s expected,” said senior midfielder Alexia Zatarain, a returning all-league first-team selection. “Everyone needs to play together, and we need to be able to put the injuries and college trips aside and still focus on getting the job done every time we step on the field.” With Zatarain, Jessi Locke, Michelle Moore and Rae Quiroz controlling the midfield and a backline that returns starters Natalie Eichten, Chelsea Seidenglanz and Gina Walker (and adds freshman Shannon Seidenglanz), Canyon expects to be in the hunt for a fifth consecutive league title. “I don’t think there’s going to be a letdown,” said Ladanyi, who last spring graduated three Daily News All-Area first-team selections, Bree Caceres, Nini Loucks and Shannon Omahen. “Lexi’s the hub, and she’s got all the tools around her. But there’s a lot of younger players who are filling in nicely. Once we get into league and the girls settle in, I think we’ll be right there again.” Hart, Valencia and Burbank have new coaches. Valencia’s Sean O’Connell might have the biggest shoes to fill; he succeeds Tony Scalercio, who led the Vikings to a second-place finish in his final year before taking over the boys’ program. Valencia returns several players, including goalkeeper Brooke Gauvin and Jackie Keeley, one of the league’s best defenders. The experience of Alice Kong, Adrianna Hermosillo, Dinah Emmons, Laura Gingrich and Nicole Gingrich ought to keep the Vikings in contention for a playoff berth. Louis Romero takes over for Jose Leon at Hart, and he inherits a roster with seven returning players from last year’s fourth-place team. Sophomore forward Sarina Coutin led the league with 20 goals and 16 assists last season, and she is supported offensively by Dominique Penaranda and newcomer Brittany Clark. Brittany Tippet returns in goal, with Kelley Mason, Michelle Mason and Aubrie Smith providing versatility in the field for the Indians, who won the Gold Division title at the Garces of Bakersfield tournament Saturday. Carolyn Chrzan, one of the league’s top forwards, leads Burbank – under co-head coaches Loi Phan and Edgar Manvelyan – in its final season in the Foothill League. The Bulldogs head next year to the Pacific League. Erik Boal, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more