By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Saugus Centurions (10-3-2, 6-2-2) entered Saturday’s match against the Canyon Cowboys (7-5-3, 4-4-2) in a three-way tie with the Cowboys and West Ranch with only four games left in the season. The Centurions were on a mission and, with a resounding 6-0 victory, it is safe to say their mission had been accomplished.
The Centurions’ victory came off the heels of three quick goals within the first 15 minutes of the game. Alyssa Edwards had a foot in all three of the goals, scoring two of them and dishing out an assist to Ashley Striegal.
The Centurions were not done, as they would score two more goals before the end of the first half. One goal was scored by Madi Robbins and the other by Sophia Ruys.
A 5-0 first-half deficit would rattle most teams, but the Cowboys stayed resilient.
“We weren’t ready for that sort of fight but you got to give it to Saugus for their amazing players on offense and defense,” said Cowboys’ head coach Leonardo Neveleff. “It was time for us to forget about the first half and give them a hard time playing the best that we can with a little more intensity and passion. We were a little more even in the second half but there’s still a lot of things we need to fix this week.”
The Cowboys ramped up their shots at the goal, but to the credit of the Centurions’ defense, they would not be able to avoid the shutout.
The Centurions would slow down their attack, but with just under 13 minutes left to go in the match, Ryan Shepherd knocked in the final goal for the team. Shepherd finished the match with one goal and two assists.
“We looked good as a team overall, playing relaxed and we have been moving the ball pretty well,” said Shepherd. “It was definitely the outcome we needed and deserved. Of course, we want to win the Foothill League title after making a deep run in CIF last season and this being my final year. We have two more games left so we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal and keep moving.”
The Centurions could do no wrong, but unfortunately in the final minutes of the game, one of their top defenders, Natalie Quezada, would have to be carted off with a leg injury. The timetable for her return is unknown.
The Cowboys will have a chance at revenge as they are scheduled to play the Centurions again on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. at Saugus.
“The girls came out hungry. They knew what was at stake,” said Centurions’ head coach Kevin Miner. “This team is very resilient and they wanted to get the job done. I was very pleased with the percentage of quality shots we took in the first half. The injury for Natalie sticks in my mind because I believe she is one of the best defenders in the league. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and we can get her back soon.”