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Prep girls soccer: All the right places

Hart downs Canyon, moves up to second place in league

Posted: February 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Hart High's Jenny Chavez, top, collides with Canyon goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy, bottom, in final seconds of the first half at Canyon High School on Thursday. Hart won 2-0.

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When McKinley Kane showed up to Thursday’s girls soccer match between her Hart Indians and the host Canyon Cowboys, she was surprised when Hart head coach Justin Lundin told her she was ineligible to play because she had reportedly missed a class earlier in the day.

Fortunately, she soon found out it was all in jest. Kane had been in all the right places throughout the day — and that trend continued when she got on the field.

Kane scored both Indians’ goals in a 2-0 victory over the Cowboys at Canyon High, clinching a second place finish for Hart.

“I had tears in my eyes. This isn’t funny,” Kane said of what she was thinking when Lundin approached her. “I really wanted this game.”

That desire was rewarded in the 29th minute, when Jenny Chavez flicked a header from Danielle Spickard to Kane, whose strike from 23 yards out beat Canyon goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy to put Hart ahead 1-0.

“Everyone had a fighting spirit,” Kane said. “I couldn’t have gotten those goals without everyone’s effort.”

The Indians (12-7-7 overall, 5-3-2 Foothill League) had been in a downward spiral since their 13-game unbeaten streak was snapped by Canyon (8-8-5, 4-3-3) on Jan. 22, going 1-2-1 since.

“We played like we’re capable of playing,” Lundin said. “We’ve been in a funk and the way we played today is what we’re capable of.”

The game turned on a controversial play to end the first half.

Chavez carried the ball into the box as Kennedy attempted to come out and win it.

Kennedy appeared to reach the ball first, but it was unclear whether she had control of the ball before the two players collided.

Chavez got up to reach the ball in front of the open net, as Canyon defenders converged. But the ball found its way to Kane, who knocked it home for a 2-0 lead.

After a conference by the officials, the goal was awarded.

“Having that goal at the end of the first, as costly as it was, we talked about putting it out of our minds,” said Canyon head coach Derek Rusk. “But it was lingering.”

Canyon had a few chances late in the contest, the best of which came on a 28-yard free kick from Kendall Bietsch that resulted in a diving save from Hart goalkeeper Daisy Hydar.

With the victory, the Indians jumped Canyon for second place in the final league standings, increasing Hart’s chances of hosting a first-round CIF-Southern Section Division II playoff game next week.

Pairings will be released Sunday.

“We obviously wanted the No. 2 seed,” Lundin said. “We want a chance to play a home game. Not to have to travel to play a No. 1 seed is big.”

For Canyon, though, the result is reversed.

What began as a season in which the team simply wanted to make the postseason developed into a year with higher goals after jumping to second place earlier this month.

But Canyon closed out the season 0-2-2 in its last four to fall to third.

The top three teams in the league are guaranteed playoff berths.

“If you look from the perspective of our goal was to make playoffs, we obviously achieved that,” Rusk said. “But it still feels like we had an opportunity to go beyond that. They’re very resilient. They’ll put this behind them and prepare for whoever we draw (in the playoffs).”

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