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Indians Shut Out at Home

Posted: February 16, 2008 3:18 a.m.
Updated: April 18, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
The Hart High boys soccer team spent the majority of the season under the radar in the Foothill league, but finished the season strong with a tough win on the road over Canyon, earning the top seed in the Foothill league.

Unfortunately for the Indians, the momentum didn't carry over into the playoffs.

Hart fell 2-0 to Palos Verdes Peninsula High Friday at home in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs.

"They beat us in the middle, they outhustled us," Hart head coach Robert Ramirez said. "They deserved to win. They were the better team today."

Hart (11-8-7) fell behind early as the Panthers (11-6-5) wasted no time going on the offensive.

Peninsula's Adolfo Santos knocked a shot into the back of the net in the fifth minute to put the Panthers up 1-0.

Despite controlling the ball for the majority of the first half, the Indians were unable to take advantage of their opportunities.

In the 14th minute, Hart received a throw-in deep in Panther territory. The ball was perfectly placed for Joel Peluffo, who sent a header toward the goal, but the shot was saved by Peninsula goalkeeper Nick Beranek, who managed to deflect it inches over the crossbar.

In the 22nd minute, the Panthers earned a corner kick that resulted in a deflection, ending up with Hiroki Maeda in possession. Maeda sent a shot into the back of the net but the goal was waived as Maeda was called offsides.

Less than a minute later, Maeda regained possession of the ball and outran the defense, sending a chipped shot just over the head of Hart goalkeeper Andrew Sherman to put the Indians down 2-0.

Hart spent the majority of the second half on the defensive, seeing minimal offensive opportunities.

"Because they pressured so much our mids kept dropping back so we really didn't get any good looks on the top third," Ramirez said. "We played on the back third and the middle third most of the second half hoping for breakaways, but that's not our game.

"They just took us out of our game. No excuses, they beat us."

Sherman kept the deficit at 2-0 with two saves early in the second half.

Peninsula's Wyatt Stucker was awarded a direct kick just outside the box two minutes into the second half. Stucker managed a shot to the left of the goal that was stopped by a diving Sherman.

Shortly after, Sherman saved a shot by Santos, who received the ball off a deflection.

"Trying to pump them up," Sherman said of his effort. "Get them ready to come out hard in the second half. I really wish our forwards had kind of stepped up and scored a couple more. They would have tied it up at least. We could have gone to shootout and I think I'm pretty good at PKs."

Hart's best look of the second half came in the 51st minute.

Johnny MacArthur took advantage of a one-on-one situation, outrunning the defense and sending a cross to open teammate Luke Goorsky but the ball rolled inches out if his reach.

"We just couldn't get it in the net and it hurt," Ramirez said. "You got to finish in the playoffs and we couldn't finish."

The Indians will have to settle for the tri-league championship. They shared the title with Canyon and Saugus, both of which were also eliminated in the first round Friday.

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