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Prep boys soccer: Defensive mistakes doom Indians

Posted: February 20, 2013 10:24 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2013 10:24 p.m.

Hart's Anthony Caso, left, reaches out to Gabe Robinson (18) as he reacts after missing a shot against Santa Paula at College of the Canyons on Wednesday.

The Hart Indians boys soccer team won its first two playoff games by limiting mistakes and finishing scoring chances.

Walking off the field after a 4-1 loss to the Santa Paula Cardinals on Wednesday at College of the Canyons, it was hard for Hart players and coaches to pin this on anything but their own miscues.

With the loss, the Indians were knocked out in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs.

“I’ll give credit to Santa Paula for beating us, but I think we beat ourselves today with too many mental mistakes,” said Hart senior Gabe Robinson.

After finishing third in the Foothill League, Hart had to win a wild-card game and upset the Division’s No. 6-ranked Beverly Hills in the first round to get to this point.

But unfortunately for Hart (15-6-3), the Cardinals capitalized on each and every mistake on Wednesday. That included two different occasions when Hart’s defense failed to clear the ball in the last five minutes of the game, which helped Santa Paula (12-5-3) score its last two goals in a game that was much closer than what the final score.

“We wanted to possess, they wanted to possess, and I think we got a couple of lucky bounces that went our way,” said Santa Paula head coach Brian Blevins.

Santa Paula’s Eric Salgado scored the first two goals of the game in the 21st minute and the 39th minute, but Hart found new life when Robinson’s throw-in led directly to a Hart goal to cut the lead in half at 2-1.

Robinson’s throw went off the head of a Santa Paula player, who inadvertently knocked the ball over his goalkeeper’s head and into his own goal.

At that point, there was a little more than 10 minutes to play, and Hart continued to push the ball forward. It nearly tied the game on multiple occasions when Hart’s David Knopf sent a free kick into the box, leading to a header from straight away.

The ball went just wide of the post.

A minute later, with seven to play in the game, Robinson took a shot from the left side that just trickled by the goal on the right.

Earlier in the game, Hart’s Jeysen Rodriguez had a shot at a seemingly wide open goal with Santa Paula keeper Erik Ambriz occupied.

But a Cardinals defender made the stop at the last possible second.

“They were in it, they were in it, but in the end we never tied it up and in the end, it didn’t matter,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel.

With five minutes to go, Jose Gomez scored on an straight away shot from about 25 yards out. The ball was tucked perfectly into the upper-right corner.

The final goal came during stoppage time when Javier Aguilar’s shot deflected off the Hart goalkeeper and went in to set the final score.

It was one of many instances in the game when the Indians’ defense was caught off guard.

“We couldn’t handle the pressure (of falling behind) and couldn’t solve the problems because of that,” Jovel said.

On the positive side, Jovel said, Hart is scheduled to return 13 players next year.


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