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The difference

Posted: March 11, 2008 2:50 a.m.
Updated: May 12, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Hart High senior sweeper Joel Peluffo scored 17 goals for the Indians and helped lead them to a share of the Foothill League title.

 
This time last year, Hart High's Joel Peluffo wasn't even playing soccer at the high school level.

Now, he's the 2007-08 Foothill League Most Valuable Player and The Signal's Santa Clarita Valley Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Last year, he was trying to get used to living in the United States after moving from Argentina, so he just focused on schoolwork. This year, the senior adjusted enough to his surroundings to play for the Indians.

Good thing he did.

Hart head coach Robert Ramirez will be the first to tell you it could have been a long season without him.

Peluffo, who has verbally committed to The Master's College, scored a team-high 17 goals this year which led his team.

That's a pretty good season for a forward.

Peluffo played sweeper, though.

Ramirez also says that though Peluffo likely would have scored many more goals had he played forward or midfield, the Hart head coach needed his defense on the back line.

Sweeper is a position that almost never scores goals. But whenever Hart had a free kick or a penalty kick, there wasn't much of a question as to who was taking it and his rocket shot was tough to stop.

Peluffo scored two goals against Canyon in the Foothill League finale on Feb. 7 to not only give the Indians a win over their rival, but to cause a three-way tie for first place.

The tiebreaker gave Hart the top seed coming out of the league for the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs.

He also scored all three goals against Saugus on Jan. 30 for a 3-2 win over the Centurions, who also ended up in a tie for first place.

Quite simply, when Hart needed a goal, it always seemed like Peluffo would come through.

Out of Hart, Saugus and Canyon, the three teams that finished in first place in league play, perhaps no single player was more instrumental to getting his team there than Peluffo.

Ramirez says that everyday at practice, Peluffo was there before anyone else, taking shot after shot on goal.

Then, when everyone else was packing up to leave, the senior would go back and take more shots.

It paid off, both for Peluffo and the Indians.

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