Saugus ousts Yucaipa from girl’s soccer playoffs

Written by Bob on March 1st, 2010


Sophomore, Kodi Lavrusky, left, scored the 76th goal of her high school career to set a new school record, breaking the previous mark of 75 set by Sarai Stamper, who now serves as the Thunderbirds assistant coach.
Photo By BOB OTTO
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YUCAIPA, CA – The Saugus Centurions put an end to Yucaipa’s dreams of reaching the championship of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs with a convincing 5-2 victory over the Thunderbirds on Friday in a quarter-final contest.

Emily Relles blasted a direct free kick from 40-yards out over the top of Yucaipa’s defense to give the Centurions a 1-0 lead at the 26-minute mark of the first half. Saugus added two more goals by Kaitlyn Hamersky and Brittanie Sakajian in the half to take a 3-1 lead into the halftime break.

Yet, trailing by two goals didn’t have the Thunderbirds ready to hand over the game to Saugus.

“Going into the half we still felt confident,” said Yucaipa coach, Sheila Huggins.

But after Saugus added its fourth goal nine minutes into the second half, the outcome appeared dim.

The Centurions’ lineup of tall girls gave Yucaipa problems as Saugus won many of the battles in the air, added Huggins.

“They are so tall, the tallest team I think we’ve ever played,” she said. “In the air, they were hard to defend.”

Yucaipa had one bright spot as sophomore, Kodi Lavrusky, scored her 76th goal of her high school career, breaking the mark set by Yucaipa assistant coach, Sarai Stamper.

Lavrusky fielded a deflection off a Saugus defender about 25-yards out, raced down the middle of the field, and shot the ball into the net to bring the match even at 1-1 at the 28-minute mark in the first half.

“It feels great,” Lavrusky said of breaking Stamper’s record. She also said that Saugus’s physical style of play and winning the balls in the air was the difference in the game. “They are definitely a high-level team. Their forwards and mid-fielders were really strong.”

Saugus coach, Natalie Helgeson, said that Saugus has peaked at the right time of the season, and is playing its best soccer.

“Our defense started getting solidified at the end of the (regular) season, and they are finally used to each other,” Helgeson said of her defending CIF champions. “This was a very physical game. Both teams wanted to win – needed to win. It’s really hard to get a win on the road. I’m really proud of the girls.”

Yucaipa got its second and final goal when junior, Tina Shoffeitt, scored off a corner kick with under two minutes to play.

Yucaipa finishes its season as the second place team out of the Citrus Belt League at 12-2, and 21-6-1 overall. And the future is filled with promise as the Thunderbirds lose but two seniors and will return 17 of its 19 rostered players.

Meanwhile, Saugus moves on to the semi-finals as the first place team from the Foothill League at 7-2-1, and 18-3-1 overall.

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