SAUGUS — The Saugus girls soccer team has emerged as a powerhouse contender this season in the Northeastern Conference. One of the keys to Saugus’ success this fall is the team’s ability to move the ball fluidly and create quality scoring opportunities.
That’s certainly what the Sachems did well on Wednesday afternoon when Saugus bested Lynn Classical, 6-2, at Anna Parker Playground. The win puts the Sachems at 11-0 on the season.
“We possess the ball well,” Saugus coach Chris Coviello said. “We move the ball around well, we go inside and outside. Classical was kind of closing in on the inside a little bit so we had to work on the outside and we did some things well there. We worked some crosses in.”
Rams backup goalie Madison Dana was tested often in net and did a solid job in keeping Classical within striking distance. But when the Sachems offense found its rhythm, Saugus goals became a norm.
“I’m proud of the way Madison played under the circumstances,” Classical coach Mark Ierardi said. “She really doesn’t have a lot of experience in goal. I thought she did well. She’s going to get better because she’s going to get more playing time. She’s a good kid and a hard worker.”
Classical struck first when Olivia Pedro fired a shot into the back of the net seven minutes into the game. After the Rams took a 1-0 lead, Saugus took over for good.
The Sachems responded with a five-goal spurt that lasted through the remaining 33 minutes of the first half.
“We didn’t come out strong today,” Coviello said. “We didn’t close out strong today, but in the middle of the game we played great. We got down 1-0 but I have a lot of good seniors and leaders and they don’t panic. We tied it 1-1 and then scored again to take the lead and we were finding our groove.”
Rachel Nazzaro tied the game in the 11th minute. Three minutes later, Allison LeBlanc made it 2-1 in Saugus’ favor. It only took another seven minutes before Olivia Taplia-Gatley booted a shot into the back of the net to bump Saugus’ lead to 3-1. Shaylin Groark and Alli Kotkowski added goals before the end of the half to put the Sachems ahead comfortably, 5-1, at recess.
“Quite frankly, Saugus is just the best team in our league,” Ierardi said. “We have a lot of young players on the team and our girls are learning. It’s not an excuse. We lost 6-2 but we saw some good things. We saw some things we can build on.”
In the 50th minute, Kotkowski scored her second goal of the afternoon to pad the Sachems lead to 6-1. From there on out, Kotkowski and the Sachems were able to play comfortably as they relied on their hefty five-goal lead. Classical’s Mary Collins scored a late goal for the 6-2 final.
With a berth in the state tournament already clinched, Saugus now looks to stay healthy while closing the regular season on a positive note.
Up next for the Sachems is a home game on Friday afternoon against Lynn English.
“We know English well,” Coviello said. “We’ve played in summer leagues against them and we play each other in the preseason.”
The Rams (4-7) also have English next up on their schedule as the crosstown rivals will square off on Tuesday night at Manning.
“All we can do is gear up for next week,” Ierardi said. “We have a couple big games next week and we’re still in the hunt mathematically. Hopefully we can go on a run. We’re now starting to see teams on our schedule for the second time.”