It’s already been a memorable 2022 playoff for the Saugus High School girls’ soccer team, as the youthful Sachems advanced to the state Div. 3 Round of 16 with wins against Southeastern Regional Vocational Tech last Friday at home, and at Tantasqua Regional on Monday.
Twenty-second-seeded Saugus traveled a pretty good distance on Monday to Sturbridge to take on the 11th-seeded Tantasqua Warriors, who came in sporting a 13-2-3 record. The Sachems jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead (both goals coming in the opening minutes) and made it stand up for an eventual 2-1 victory. The host Warriors tallied once but couldn’t come up with the equalizer.
Saugus’s Shawn Sewell opened the scoring when she attacked the net on a long direct kick from Allison Justice. Sewell was able to drill a shot past the Tantasqua goalie for a 1-0 lead. It became 2-0 just minutes later when defenseman Layla Manderson found herself in an unusual spot but made it pay off when she kicked home a loose ball in front of the net.
Monday’s win set up the Sachems for a Round of 16 match-up with 6th-seeded Belchertown on Thursday (after press deadline). Belchertown advanced by escaping 27th-seeded Bishop Stang in overtime.
The Sachems stood at 14-5-1 overall after the win over Tantasqua. Their 13th victory came in the preliminary round last Friday at Christie Serino Jr. Stadium. Saugus exploded for six goals in the first half and coasted to a 6-0 victory over 43rd-seeded Southeastern RVT.
Forward Madi Femino took a nice feed up the middle from Shalyn Sewell and tallied to open the scoring. Madison Botta collected the next two goals, the first off an assist from Shalyn Sewell and the second off a pass from Veronica Ortega. The final three scores were off the foot of Juliana Powers, who completed a hat trick in the process. Shawn Sewell assisted on the last two tallies, and Danica Schena’s free kick led to the first.
With a big lead entering the final 40 minutes, the Sachems employed a ball-control game and pretty much kept possession away from the visitors. Saugus received its usual strong game from defenders Lexi Rais, Natalie Justice, Manderson and Violet Hawley. Their efforts helped goalie Tori Carter to her ninth shutout of the season.