Hart High girls soccer took on a tough team from Bishop Amat of La Puente, but when push came to shove (nearly in the literal sense), the Indians were able to pull off a 2-1 win as part of their run in the Aliso Cup tournament.
“I thought the game got a little physical, but I expected it to be a tough game,” said coach Guilherme Mitrovitch after the Tuesday night home match. “The girls found a way to win, which is good.”
The Indians endured a slow start to the match, allowing a goal in the 14th minute. The ball was bumped through a flurry of players from both teams, rolling past goalkeeper Victoria Ryan for a 1-0 Bishop Amat lead.
PHOTOS: Hart High defeats Bishop Amat
Hart’s defense wasn’t going to let that happen again. They strategized against the strong Lancer attack.
“We knew they liked pushing the defense high a little bit, so we talked about getting some balls behind them,” Mitrovitch said. “It looked organized, it looked good, but also when they had the chance, they were setting us up, too, on top (on offense).”
Strong defensive play also made for a confident offense. In the 34th minute, Taylor Scott took a clean shot from just outside the box for the game-tying goal.
Scott had another chance to score during extra time in the first half, taking a similar shot, but ultimately, the ball bounced off the crossbar as the teams entered halftime all tied up.
“We’ve got some talented players offensively,” Mitrovitch said. “So we try to give them opportunities around the box. So we talked about them getting quick combos, communicating when they have the chance to talk and take their shots.”
On the other side of the half, freshman midfielder Tori Waldeck was on the scoring end of that offensive technique.
After covering the ball on a Lancer scoring attempt, Ryan passed the ball off to the Indians defense, who got the ball up to an open Waldeck. She won a quick one-on-one battle, then took a shot that sailed over the top of the goalie.
“We connect really well, especially because we’ve only been together for three weeks so far,” said Waldeck. “We just connected right of the bat and it’s nice to be able to do that because we can start off well and get our season going.”
Waldeck, who spends time in both the midfielder and forward positions, also credited the defense for keeping the Indians in the game.
“They’re strong and big and they don’t care what happens no matter what,” she said. “They always go up for a ball, they don’t want to get scored, on. Their just the defense that we need.”
The win puts Hart in first place in their three-team Aliso Cup pool. With a win or a tie against Orange Lutheran on Thursday, they’ll secure that top finish and move onto the championship round, which begins Saturday in Orange County.