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Prep soccer: The late show

Overtime goal sends Hart boys to first CIF quarterfinal since 1983

Posted: February 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Hart midfielder Ben Kret, right, celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime as University High School of Irvine’s Kenny Grant buries his face in his hands during the CIF-Southern Section Division III second round on Wednesday at Hart High.

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It’s a situation in which the Hart boys soccer team is becoming quite comfortable.

Late in the game, the Indians needed a goal to win.

Late in regulation, they couldn’t find the back of the net.

After regulation ended, they did.

Midfielder Ben Kret scored midway through the first overtime period to lead Hart past University High School of Irvine 1-0 in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division III playoffs Wednesday at Hart High.

For the first time since 1983, the Hart boys will appear in a CIF quarterfinal match. The Indians (15-5-4) will host Fontana High at 3 p.m. Friday after Fontana beat Katella of Anaheim 2-1 in the second round.

It was the second straight playoff game where the Indians had to play beyond regulation to win. In the first round, they beat Pacifica of Oxnard 4-3 on penalty kicks after the game ended 1-1.

“Some of our seniors said we were going to make history, and I think we did today,” said Hart head coach Fausto Arana.
It was one of those seniors, Kret, who came up with the winning goal.

When sophomore Niko Ferrero used his speed to get the ball into the open field, he took a shot from the right edge of the 18-yard box that took a hard ricochet off the right post and landed in front of Kret.

Without hesitation, he kicked tucked it inside the left post from around 10 yards out, sending the entire Hart bench onto the field and swarming Kret in celebration.

“I was watching the back post, and when I saw Niko take the shot, I saw the goalie out of position, so I just said, ‘Don’t screw this up,’” Kret said.

Other than Kret’s shot, both teams squandered prime scoring chances throughout.

“It was as if nobody wanted to win the game,” said University head coach Ian Ebert. “Each team had four or five opportunities where you’d think they could score, but neither team could do it.”

The teams’ contrasting styles made for a back-and-forth affair in the first half, with the Trojans (9-6-4) splitting possession with the Indians.

Hart tried to move the ball up the field slowly by passing on the ground, while University tried to get the ball in the air to set up breakaways.

The shots on goal ended in a slight 5-3 Hart advantage, but most of those shots came in the final 20 minutes of the second half.
“My assistant coach kept saying, ‘It’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,’” Arana said of his team’s missed chances. “I looked at him and said, ‘I don’t know about that.’”

After Hart won numerous corner kicks and throw-ins deep in University’s end, it did happen.

“I think maybe we got a little bit tired,” Ebert said. “We pressed them pretty good. I thought we were flat in the first half and we came out strong in the second.”

This time, the Indians were stronger, which is why they will play at least another game.

“We’re feeling great,” Kret said. “I think we can go all the way to the finals.”

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