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The Day After Soccer: Two Harts make waves

Indians soccer teams assert themselves in the Foothill

Posted: February 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Hart boys soccer had the most impressive preleague resume coming into Foothill League play early last month.

At first, the strong showing didn’t translate well against Foothill opponents.

In the past week, the Indians have caught fire once again, scaling to the top spot in league over the course of three games.

Hart is now 5-1-1 in league and two points ahead of second-place West Ranch (4-1-2).

Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Saugus (1-5-1) marks the Indians’ third straight shutout, winning the games by a combined score of 9-0.

The goals came from Sammy Reyes, Anthony Caso, Eddie Castillo and Jordan Karroll on Tuesday for the Indians, who were third place in league with a 2-1-1 record before the winning streak began.

It’s far from locked up though, as three other Foothill teams are within three points of Hart.

Defending league champion West Ranch is easily in the race after edging Golden Valley 2-1 on Tuesday behind a first-half goal from Wade McMillon and a needed insurance goal from Connor Ashlock in the second half.

“We had a lot of possession of the ball,” said West Ranch head coach Fred McGinn. “We had quite a few shots on goal, and they do pretty well (on defense).”

It turned out to be the Wildcats that had to hold up on defense late in the game after Golden Valley’s Sebastian Martinez scored and teammates Guy Meyers and Randy Tapia kept the pressure on as the game came to a close.

It marked the fourth straight loss by a single goal for the Grizzlies (0-7-0).

The Wildcats will have a chance to create some distance in the second place spot when they play host to Canyon (4-2-1), which is tied for third place.

League implications aside, McGinn wants his team to prove it can finish after giving up two unanswered goals against Canyon last time out when the two teams played to a 2-2 draw on Jan. 17.

“We’ve just got to play a whole game,” McGinn said. “We went up 2-0 and I think the players, the shock hit them that we were up 2-0 and we started letting up defensively.”

Joining Canyon in the third-place spot is Valencia, which came from behind to beat Canyon 2-1 on Tuesday.

The same two teams finished tied for third in the final standings a year ago.

In girls soccer, even after Hart’s defeat of Saugus on Tuesday, the Centurions are still on top of the league by two points.

The difference now — with Saugus’ streak of 20 straight Foothill League games without a loss coming to an end — the Centurions (6-1-0 in league) can’t feel nearly as comfortable with the Indians (5-1-1) nipping at their heels.

With injuries to key players Stacy Atwater and Monica Allen added on, Saugus has another test coming on Friday against league third-place Valencia.

The Vikings (3-4-0) are nine points behind the Centurions in the standings, but are coming off a convincing 3-1 win over Canyon on Tuesday.

It was a game Valencia controlled from start to finish, going in front 2-0 before trading goals in the final seven minutes.

“Getting three goals on (Canyon) is saying something against their goalkeeper (Meghan Kennedy) because she’s, like our freshman, she’s outstanding,” said Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell.

Taylor Venegas scored two goals in the game and Eryn Spencer added one of her own for the Vikings, while Ada Rauch, Lindsay Bos and Samantha Simon were credited with assists.

It was an important bounceback for Valencia just four days after losing 2-1 to Golden Valley, which picked up its first league win in school history.

“If we can just stop being such a Jekyll and Hyde team, we can be fine,” O’Connell said.

The loss puts Canyon (1-4-2) in fifth place in the Foothill standings behind West Ranch, which shut out Golden Valley 2-0 on Tuesday.

At 2-3-2, West Ranch is one point behind Valencia for third place.

The 1-5-1 Grizzlies fell behind in the game early and weren’t able to recover mentally.

“The whole team looked kind of disorganized,” said Golden Valley head coach Charles Martinez. “We started the game OK. The beginning of the game was kind of even for both sides, and we just kind of made a mistake on the first goal and after that, the whole team went down.”

Golden Valley will have a chance to get its second league win in school history when it travels to play Hart on Friday.

“We’ve had lots of emphasis on those little details, especially how they’ve got to play tough against a strong team,” Martinez said of the matchup.

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