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Foothill Girls Soccer: Hart stands tall

Indians weather Saugus onslaught to upset the Cents

Posted: February 1, 2010 10:21 p.m.
Updated: February 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Hart goalkeeper Kayce Perkins grabs the ball as teammates Kelli Goss (7) and Brittani Reddick (11) defend against Saugus Tuesday at Saugus High School.

 
The Saugus girls soccer team hammered away at the Hart goal Tuesday afternoon, but the Indians only broke once.

As a result, they’re back in the Foothill League race.

Hart scored an early goal in each half and goalkeeper Kayce Perkins made sure they held up in a 2-1 victory over the Centurions at Hart High School.

The last 15 minutes were particularly nerve-wracking for the Indians (13-5-3, 4-2-0), who watched as Saugus built several attacks only to come up short of the equalizing goal.

“I was going nuts,” said Hart head coach Mike Gomez. “The last nine minutes were the longest nine minutes of my life.”

Midfielders Kelli Goss and Kelsey Steck scored the goals for Hart, which is now tied with Saugus (12-3-3, 4-2-0) in league.

Thanks to Canyon’s 1-0 victory over Valencia on Monday, the Cowboys are now alone in first place at 4-1-1 in league.

The Centurions did everything they could to get a different result from Hart.

Running plays through fleet-footed striker Jamie Molacek, Saugus tested Perkins from all over the field in the second half, whether it was headers or shots from afar or quick turnaround strikes in the 18-yard box.

“They put up a good fight back there,” Perkins said. “Jamie scared me to death. With her quick feet I thought she was going to beat me.”

Saugus eventually found the back of the net when midfielder Shasta Fisher was fouled in the penalty box. Fisher’s initial shot was saved by Perkins as she dived to her right, but Fisher tucked the rebound opposite corner to cut the lead to 2-1.

“I was proud of their fight,” said Saugus head coach Natalie Helgeson. “Was it great soccer? No, this was very messy. But at the end, we were finding our opportunities and just not finishing them.”

The Centurions started the game sloppy, and Hart took advantage.

Around eight minutes in, Hart midfielder Brittani Reddick sailed a throw-in through the box that found the knee of Goss, who buried it in the back of the net.

“Hart came out harder and we couldn’t adjust to the game in the first half,” Helgeson said.

Hart held off Saugus the rest of the first half, and at halftime Gomez sensed an opportunity.

“We noticed they were a bit flat at the half,” he said of the Centurions. “So I asked them to try to penetrate.”

Less than a minute into the second half, Steck hit a rocket shot with her toe that whizzed past Saugus keeper Kelly Parker to give Hart a 2-0 lead.

From there, the Indians weathered a torrent of Saugus chances, including a header by Cents midfielder Nicole Penick that forced Perkins to make a diving save to her right.

Perkins, who is still struggling with an ankle injury, had to be on her toes all afternoon, given Saugus’ skilled players.

“You’ve got to recognize when there are switches,” she said. “The majority of them take an extra touch to the inside and that’s when I’m ready.”

Saugus will try to rebound at Golden Valley at 3:15 p.m. today, while Hart hosts Canyon at the same time in another big league matchup.

“We needed to win and that’s what we talked about,” Gomez said. “(Saugus is) going to want it but we’re going to need it a little bit more.”

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