Saugus girls soccer breezes past Salem

In spite of the rain, Madison Botta speeds down the field with the ball. (Emma Fringuelli)

SAUGUS — Sometimes, you just have it going. Wednesday evening at Saugus High, the girls soccer team (2-1) dominated Salem in a 7-0 thrashing.

The Sachems came out of the blocks strong. Just one minute into the game, Shawn Sewell delivered a pinpoint cross to striker Madi Femino for an early 1-0 lead. 

Saugus quickly doubled its lead three minutes later when Sewell, again, fired a cross into the penalty box. This time, Femino’s shot was saved, but the rebound landed nicely for Madison Botta who tucked it in to extend the lead to 2-0.

“Everybody wants to get out to a fast start,” Saugus coach Chris Coviello said. “When you do that, it sets the tone for the game.” 

The Sachems, thanks to lightning-fast twins Shawn (1 goal, 2 assists) and Shaylyn Sewell, were too quick for the Witches, constantly running down the wings and making life difficult for Salem. 

“They [Shawn and Shaylyn Sewell] are always up and down the field,” Coviello said. “We want to get the balls out to them all the time. They are really good.” 

When Saugus got the ball into the box for its strikers, Femino (2 goals) and Botta (3 goals) rarely made mistakes.

“My two strikers played really well together,” Coviello said. 

The Sachems put five goals past Salem in the first half to take a 5-0 lead into halftime. Coviello was happy with his team’s ability to finish chances efficiently. 

“We have a habit of needing a lot of shots on target to score,” Coviello said. “We score a lot of goals, but we need a lot of shots on net. Today, we were a little bit better. Our shot selection was a little bit better.” 

In the second half, it was more of the same for the hosts. The Sachems dominated possession with Coviello crediting his center mids for running the show. 

“They controlled the game for us,” Coviello said.

One center mid who bossed the turf was Veronica Ortega. With fancy footwork in tight spaces, countless nutmegs, and body feints, Ortgea was a midfield maestro. 

Ortega showed off her precision when she threaded a through ball to Sewell, who, unselfishly, laid it off to Botta who slotted it past the goalie to make it 6-0 in the second half with 32 minutes to go. 

“Everybody is out there running and she’s [Ortega] gliding along effortlessly,” Coviello said. “She’s smart and she plays balls with the right pace on it.” 

With the game in control, Coviello brought on some junior varsity players to get some varsity experience. 

“We got to put some of our JV players on since they didn’t have a game today,” Coviello said. “They watched how the varsity plays and then, when they go out there, they try and replicate it. It works out well for them.” 

Clean and competitive. Coviello praised the Witches postgame.  

“The game went well. Both teams played hard,” Coviello said. “Salem played right to the end and it wasn’t a chippy game, so I give them credit for that.” 

In a statement that’s always positive, Coviello said his group is a “fun team to watch.” 

“We move the ball around a lot and are unselfish,” he said.

Saugus’ next game is Monday against Malden Catholic with kickoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

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