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Hart pushed aside in CIF boys soccer quarterfinals

Indians boys lose in CIF-SS Division IV quarterfinals on quick-kick goal

Posted: February 27, 2014 11:05 p.m.
Updated: February 27, 2014 11:05 p.m.

Hart's Jose Pena, back, tries to fight off Cathedral's Miguel Lorenzo on Thursday at Hart High School in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division IV boys soccer playoffs. Hart lost 1-0 to the No. 1 seed.

Losing in the playoffs is a hard pill to swallow.

But seeing your season end from a gift-wrapped goal is harder to swallow.

Behind a goal that Hart High boys soccer head coach Adonay Jovel called a gift, the Indians fell to the No. 1 seeded Cathedral High Phantoms of Los Angeles 1-0 in the CIF-Southern Section Division IV quarterfinals Thursday at Hart High School.

In the 46th minute, Cathedral senior Axel Mendez caught the Indians by surprise when he quick-kicked a free kick to score the lone and deciding goal.

“It was a gift because that is a very simple detail,” Jovel said. “Whenever you (defend) a free kick, you get a guy in front of the ball. It’s as simple as that, and they capitalized on the mistake.”

Immediately following a Hart foul 8 yards outside the left corner of the box, Mendez took a shot.

He fired before the Indians’ defense or goalkeeper were set, and curved the ball into the top-right corner of the goal.

“I just caught them offguard,” Mendez said. “I’ve been doing this all year. I’ve already had like four goals off that.

When the goalie is still setting up, I just kick it.”

Beyond the goal, Hart’s defense played well and limited scoring opportunities for the Phantoms.

Cathedral (24-1-1) finished with seven shots — five of which were on goal.

“I thought it was one of our best defensive games all year.” said Hart defenseman Riley Waldeck. “They had a lot of solid numbers to send at us, and all four of us in the backline and our center-mids did a great job staying with them and shutting them down.”

But Hart’s scoring chances were also few and far between as Cathedral’s defense stepped up to the challenge.

The Indians (15-6-3) finished with five shots in the match, but just one was on goal.

“Our defense is the core of this team,” said Cathedral co-head coach Arturo Lopez. “They don’t get all the attention, but that backline and that keeper have been doing a phenomenal job all year.”

The win gives the Phantoms their 17th straight win and third consecutive postseason semifinals appearance.

Hart’s best opportunities at a goal came in the first half.

In the 15th minute, a Hart throw-in landed in the box and junior midfielder Anthony Salvadori had an attempt to score, but his shot floated just over the crossbar.

Indians’ sophomore midfielder Derek Waldeck almost put the Foothill League champions on the board in the 28th minute on a low-rocket from 10-yards outside the box, but the ball rolled just past the right post.

Though it wasn’t the end result the Indians wanted, they still have a lot to be proud of.
This season marked Hart’s first Foothill League title since 2008, and its first postseason quarterfinals appearance since 2011.

“Very proud of every player on the team,” Riley Waldeck said. “Twenty-three guys deep and every player contributed this year. As a senior myself, I’m very proud to have this be my last year of high school soccer.”


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