Prep of the Week: Samantha Perez

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(ABC 6 News) — A year after a 13-3 finish which featured a conference championship, section championship and a state tournament bid, the SCLA Saints are back for more.

In their first four games, they’ve scored 33 goals, 12 of those coming from Samantha Perez. When it comes to finding the back of the net, the junior is almost as safe a bet there is.

“Honestly I’ve started the season pretty well,” Perez said. “Probably one of my better seasons and just something to be proud of.”

The Saints have been so dominant at times, it’s as if they are competing against themselves. There is arguably no better case for that than their August 28 outing against Stewartville. Perez and former Prep of the Week Araceli “Xeli” White both notched hat tricks en route to a 9-0 shutout.

“So Araceli and I just kind of have a joke about who’s going to get the hat trick first, or who’s going to score first,” Perez added. “We just kind of bicker at each other and we’re just like, ‘Oh, I’m going to get it first, no you’re going to get it first. It’s kind of like our coaches and our team and just everyone gets involved so it’s really fun.”

Perez credits a lot of her and the Saints’ success to their head coach Taige Puetz, a 2022 Rochester Sports Coach of the Year finalist.

“She’ll get a little feisty sometimes,” Coach Puetz noted. “But I love it because her motivation just kicks into herself, but then it kicks into everyone else around us, because we all want to be on that next level like she is.”

Much like Perez is never content, neither is the team. Despite early success in the State Tournament, SCLA lost 1-0 to St. Paul Academy, a team that wound up finishing as the Class A runner-up. The Saints believe they could’ve been in that position playing for a championship and they have their eyes locked on the prize.

“We just stay composed, we just always work, thinking every team is going to be the toughest team in the conference,” Perez asserted. “We work for ourselves, we kind of stay humble, regardless of the results. We just go out there and play. We have fun.”

The Saints have a rematch with St. Paul Academy on the road on Saturday, September 23 at 1 PM.