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Foothill League boys soccer: Hart’s frantic finish

Indians rally from 3-0 deficit late in second half to secure draw, first place in league

Posted: February 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch’s Cody Klop (3) keeps the ball away from Hart defender Gabe Robinson on Tuesday at Hart High School. The Indians and Wildcats tied 4-4.

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So far this season, West Ranch boys soccer is the only team that hasn’t lost to Hart in Foothill League play.

But after Tuesday’s matchup between the two teams ended in a 4-4 draw at Hart High School, the Wildcats looked much more disappointed.

That might have had something to do with the fact that West Ranch led 3-0 with just over 17 minutes left in regulation.

“We worked really hard to come back,” said Hart’s Ryan Dolan, who scored the first two goals of the comeback. “It was disappointing not to get the three points (for a win).”

But for now, getting just the one point for a tie is good enough to keep the second-place Wildcats at arm’s length.

Hart’s furious rally led to four goals in the next 13 minutes as a stunned West Ranch team tried to collect itself.

The Indians broke through in the 63rd minute when Dolan knocked the ball in from just inside the 6-yard box off Edwin Medina’s cross from the left side.

Dolan scored again in the 68th minute from nearly the same spot when he headed the ball into the hands of Wildcats goalkeeper Alex Manzo, who then fumbled the ball into the net.

A minute later, Hart defender Cody Seybold scored on a header set up by corner kick, and Gabe Robinson capped off the scoring for the Indians in the 66th minute.

“It was bang, bang, bang, bang. It was insane,” said West Ranch head coach Mo Burgess. “I’ve personally never seen anything like that before.”

But was a short-lived 4-3 lead for Hart (12-4-3, 5-1-1).

Trailing by a goal, the Wildcats (9-2-6, 4-1-2) got a rare second-half scoring opportunity.

West Ranch senior Ashton Kolander received a pass near the top of the 18-yard box, only to get knocked down from behind by a Hart player.

The play resulted in a penalty kick, which was converted by Brandon Dooley in the 77th minute, securing the draw.

Hart held on to its first-place standing in the league, maintaining a two-point advantage over West Ranch.

After beating Hart 2-1 on Jan. 14, it appeared the Wildcats had the answer once again, scoring within the first three minutes of the game.

By the 26:00 mark of the first half, West Ranch led 2-0 thanks to a pair of goals from striker Jacob Jordan. He scored both of them in transition where he simply outran the Indians’ defenders and finished the play at the net.

“For whatever reason, we have troubles matching up with them,” said Hart head coach Fausto Arana. “They just have our number. I don’t know what it is.”

West Ranch latched onto the Indians in the midfield and didn’t allow any buildup plays.

A Cody Klop goal in the 32nd minute helped West Ranch go ahead 3-0 by halftime.

The game-tying penalty kick turned out to be the Wildcats’ only shot on goal in a second half, which was dominated by the Indians.

“The boys are a second-half team,” Arana said. “We kind of knew that. They’ve always been a second-half team.”

At first, Hart simply controlled the possession, but wasn’t able to put together any promising scoring chances, even with an extra defender committed up front.

But after Dolan’s first score, the floodgates were opened.

“They just needed to get that first goal in and they were OK,” Arana said.

In the next 15 minutes, nothing seemed to go right for West Ranch, which struggled to even clear the ball out of its side of the field, much less maintain control of the ball.

“We stopped doing it. We stopped winning the balls in the middle,” Burgess said. “We just stopped doing what was working.”

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