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Prep soccer: Hart draws a blank

Indians’ defense plays well but offense whiffs in tie

Posted: November 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Hart midfielder McKinley Kane, left, stabs at the ball as Thousand Oaks defender Gabby Suarez does the same on Tuesday at Hart High School. The Indians had opportunities but couldn’t finish in a scoreless tie.

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The Hart girls soccer team controlled most of its match against Thousand Oaks on Tuesday at Hart High, maintaining possession and producing the better scoring opportunities throughout.

But the Indians failed to capitalize on any of their chances, settling for a 0-0 tie in the season opener for both schools.

Hart (0-0-1) used a strong back line to thwart the Lancers’ attempts at goal from the start.

Thousand Oaks (0-0-1) managed five shots on goal in the match, but most of those came from far outside the 18-yard box and were easily stopped by Hart goalie Ashleigh Tippet, who finished with five saves.

The Lancers did manage one quality look midway through the second half when Alison Neveu put a header on net off a corner kick. Tippet was able to make the save.

Adding Tippet, Hart’s defenders played strong throughout, and outside of the corner the Lancers were able to get very little going offensively.

“The two on defense that were back there were our seniors Kelsey Steck and Danica Morgan,” said Hart head coach Mike Gomez. “They’ve anchored that back position, and with them back there again I think we’ll have a lot of success. (Along with) Hailey Jenkins, with those three I think we’ll do a good job.”

But given the few offensive chances the Lancers found, head coach Geoff Raives was thankful to escape Hart with a tie.

“Hart’s a good team,” Raives said. “To come to their field and not give up a goal says a lot. We’re not going to be easy to beat.”

Offensively, Hart had numerous opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net, but poor finishes forced the Indians to settle for the tie.

“I think there was a lack of creativity,” Gomez said. “There wasn’t much movement off the ball. It’s something we are going to work on.”

Hart’s best chance to score came in the first half when Steck moved up to play on the offensive end.

A defensive mistake by the Lancers with 6:30 remaining in the first half allowed Steck to break away from the pack with only the goalie Emilia Feldman to beat.

Her shot, though, sailed wide to right of the net, leaving the match scoreless.

Despite the Indians’ struggles, Gomez is ready to use the Indians’ first match as a learning experience for the rest of the season.

“Overall, (I’m) very pleased with the way they played,” he said. “A lot of areas we need to improve on.”

Hart will have an opportunity to test that improvement on Thursday when it travels to Notre Dame High School at 5 p.m.

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