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Sachem boys blank Winthrop in season opener

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By Greg Phipps

The Saugus High School boys’ soccer team put forth an impressive season-opening effort Wednesday by blanking their Northeastern Conference foe the Winthrop Vikings, 4-0, at the Christie Serino Jr. Athletic Complex. The Sachems earned five wins all of last season but Wednesday’s showing gave the impression that this year’s squad could very much exceed that total.

With a team roster of just under 30 players, this year’s head coach Guillermo Sepulveda appears to have enough resources to make Saugus a potential conference contender. The Sachems will likely face stiffer tests when they travel to play Gloucester on Friday and Masconomet next Monday, Sept. 12.

Saugus took control of Wednesday’s contest pretty much from the get-go. Owning the territorial play, the Sachems opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game when junior Max Anajjar made a nice ball fake to produce an open shot from the right side. His boot landed in the net for a 1-0 lead.

It became 2-0 when senior co-captain Brian Pineda beat the Winthrop goalie to a loose ball in the crease and managed to push one home.  Just minutes later, Anajjar knocked in his second tally to increase the advantage to 3-0. Having built a three-goal cushion with the game less than 20 minutes old, Sepulveda was able to substitute more freely and give much of his roster valuable playing time.

The visiting Vikings had difficulty producing any offensive thrust, as the Sachems were able to pin them in their own zone for most of the day.  Taking their 3-0 lead into halftime, the Sachems added one more goal in period two when sophomore Isaac Cesco tallied to account for the final margin.

The next home game for Saugus is against Salem next Wednesday, Sept. 14 (scheduled 4 p.m. start). This year’s team has three captains: Pineda, Melvin Hernandez, and Alejandro Ortega.  Despite winning just five games last season, the Sachems still had a shot at a playoff berth in the final week.  A postseason bid looks like an even more realistic possibility in 2022.

Saugus forward Max Anajjar took off down field in first-half action of Wednesday’s season opener against Winthrop. (Advocate photos by Greg Phipps)
Saugus’s Melvin Hernandez went on the offensive on Wednesday.
Saugus’s Jefferson Rocha attacked the net as the Winthrop goaltender awaited an incoming kick.

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