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Hart girls the new frontrunners

Posted: February 11, 2014 10:48 p.m.
Updated: February 11, 2014 10:48 p.m.

The Hart girls soccer team celebrates after scorin a goal against Valencia at Valencia High on Tuesday.

 

When Hart girls soccer player Sophie Cortes retrieved the ball for teammate Destinney Duron, she gave her a look.

Cortes didn’t say anything, but the look said it all.

Duron, known for long throw-in ability, sent a low throw to the near post where Cortes, who stands just 5-feet tall, headed it into the back of the net to a 1-0 victory and propel Hart into sole possession of first place in the Foothill League.

“Right moment, perfect timing,” Cortes said. “It fell into place just like the soccer gods meant it to.”

The Indians (13-5-4, 6-0-3 Foothill) entered the game in third place, one point behind Valencia (17-3-2, 6-2-1) and Canyon and most likely needing victories over both to win a title.

But after a topsy-turvey night in the Foothill League, where Canyon tied Saugus 1-1, Hart can now clinch at least a share of the league title with a draw against Canyon on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

“We’re in a good position — if we win both we’re in first,” said Hart head coach Guilherme Mitrovich on the mindset heading into the week. “Now, with the Saugus result, we’re still focused on what we said at the beginning of the week, which is getting two wins.”

Valencia had opportunities throughout the match, including a shot by Sara Silvestro in the final seconds of the first half that was saved by Hart goalkeeper Nicole Davis.

The Vikings had another quality chance in the game’s closing moments, as a header off a corner was driven wide left of the net.

“We need to be more ruthless in our finishing,” said Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell. “I can’t fault the effort or intensity or time of possession.”

Valencia controlled the better of possession in the game, and had more shots, but none of that mattered in the end, as Valencia dropped its second straight game after going 14 games without a loss.

The Indians are in an opposite state of mind.

Hart tied three straight games from Jan. 24 through Jan. 31 and looked like longshots to recover and win the league, with both Valencia and Canyon above them in the standings.

But the Indians have now scored 10 goals in their last three games, all wins, and sit in good position to win their first Foothill League title since going back-to-back in 2006 and 2007.

And they’re in this position, all because of a look from the smallest girl on the field.

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