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Fast start fuels Hart

Posted: February 20, 2014 10:59 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2014 10:59 p.m.

Hart's Jose Pena, right, fights for the ball against Colony's Axl Mendoza during Thursday's CIF-Southern Section Division IV first-round playoff game at Hart High School.

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For the first nine minutes of the game, Hart boys soccer was on fire.

After that, Hart was good enough to survive and advance in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs on Thursday.

A pair of quick goals by Andrew Nielsen early and solid defense throughout got the job done in the Hart Indians’ 2-1 win over the Colony High Titans of Ontario at Hart High School.

“Obviously we never want to stop scoring, but 2-0 is a good score to have,” Nielsen said of the early lead. “I wasn’t complaining.”

It was a furious start of the game for the Foothill League champion Indians (14-4-4), who took advantage of some situations where Colony’s defense was out of position.

Both goals were started with crosses from the sidelines and Nielsen put himself in position for straight-on shots up the middle.

Nicholas Tamashiro assisted the first one in the fifth minute and Derek Waldeck sent the cross to Nielsen on the second one, which came in the ninth minute.

“The good thing is its always someone different stepping up and scoring goals,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel.

In the final 71 minutes of the game, it was much more evenly matched.

The Titans used their speed to get the ball in scoring position several times throughout the game.

In the second half alone, the Titans took seven shots to Hart’s four. Three of Colony’s shots fired off a crossbar.

“The first 10 minutes was definitely completely different than the rest of the game,” said Colony head coach Jeff Verplancke.

As many chances as the Titans had, it was the Indians’ backline that was in many ways the key to this win.

Riley Waldeck and Anthony Salvadori led the charge for the Indians in the center of the defense.

“It was very important for us to keep high intensity and not allow them to get back in the game,” Riley Waldeck said.

With six minutes to play in the game, it was Riley Waldeck who made a stellar save on an unmanned goal after Hart goalkeeper Christian Arriaga dove for the ball and was unable to secure it.

The ball squirted out in front of a Colony player, who rocketed a shot to a seemingly wide-open net. But Riley Waldeck jumped in front of it and took the ball in the chest.

“The adrenaline washed (the pain) right over,” Waldeck said.

Shortly after that, with a little more than two minutes to play, Colony’s Axl Mendoza scored an unassisted goal to get his team within reach.

With the win, Hart moves on to the second round, where it will face Lawndale High on Tuesday.

The location of the game will be determined by a coin flip.



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