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Hart soccer moves to quarterfinals

Posted: February 25, 2014 10:57 p.m.
Updated: February 25, 2014 10:57 p.m.

Hart's Andrew Nielsen (20) takes the ball down to score against Lawndale at Hart High on Tuesday.

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It doesn’t seem like anything can faze this Hart High boys soccer team.

After coughing up a two-goal lead along with every bit of momentum in Tuesday’s postseason game, the Hart Indians fought back for a dramatic 3-2 win over the Lawndale Cardinals in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs at Hart High.

Thanks to Anthony Salvadori’s game-winning goal in the 70th minute, Hart advanced to the CIF quarterfinals for the first time since 2011 and just the second time dating back to 1983.

“The personality and hard work of each player we have, that’s what stands out,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel. “We have a bunch of kids who want to win. We have a bunch of kids who want a ring. That’s what they always say.”

Brayon Rodriguez and Andrew Nielsen scored the first two goals for the Indians (15-4-4) within the first 25 minutes of the game to take a 2-0 lead, but Lawndale (20-8-1) slowly wrestled control of the game back to its side.

By halftime, the Lawndale side of the stands was mostly full and energetic as the school brought three buses full of students to cheer on the team.

The crowd gained energy as the Cardinals built momentum and started chipping away at the lead.

They scored twice within a six-minute span in the second half to tie it. The first was knocked in by Sergio Salcedo from the top of the 18-yard box after a corner kick in the 53rd minute.

Shortly after that, in the 59th minute, Lawndale scored again on a header to push the score to 2-2.

“We just kind of woke up and saw it was still a game,” Salvadori said. “We knew 2-0 wasn’t a good score.”

Up until that point, the Cardinals were dominating possession of the ball throughout the second half.

But the energy level picked up a notch on the Hart side after allowing back-to-back scores.

“We can’t go into overtime,” Jovel said on his thoughts at the moment. “We need to finish it before then.”

Salvadori, who had played solid defense in the back all game long, found himself in front of the goal after Nielsen sent the ball into the box from the right side.

In a crowd of defenders, Salvadori took one shot and tucked it into the left side for the go-ahead score. He was mobbed by teammates on the field.

“They got a breakaway, our defense failed to clear. We left the front wide open,” said Lawndale head coach Angel Mendez, whose team won the Pioneer League this season.

Rodriguez scored his goal within the first minute and a half of the game on an assist by his brother, Jeysen Rodriguez.

Nielsen scored unassisted in the 25th minute.

With the win, Hart will move on to play Cathedral High of Los Angeles, the No. 1 seed in the bracket, on Thursday at Hart High School.

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