Shreds of a hand-made Hart High girls soccer banner lay ripped and crumpled against the chain-link fence. The Indians sat a few feet away on their home field, crumpled as well. Moments ago, Mater Dei of Santa Ana’s Haley Hopkins had scored the golden goal in a second overtime to defeat Hart, 1-0, in a CIF-Southern Section Division 1 semifinal game and teammates had torn up the banner as a means of celebrating. “No matter how hard you work, no matter how hard you want it, sometimes things just aren’t going to go your way,” said Indians goalkeeper Victoria Ryan of the home loss.
Vanderbilt-bound Hopkins scored on a header off of a corner kick after two halves of intense regulation. The Indians controlled the Monarch offense’s pressure in the first half. Hart (22-3-4) nearly had a goal when Tori Waldeck coasted up the sideline and sent it to Taylor Scott who nudged the ball toward the goal. But the ball was cleared and never crossed the line. “I think the girls did what we had planned,” said Hart coach Guilherme Mitrovitch. “We pressured them. They couldn’t play the game they wanted to play.” Hart continued to have scoring chances throughout the second half and into overtime but was plagued by bad bounces. The ball went high, smacked the crossbar or nestled itself into freshman goalkeeper Kelly McManus’ hands. McManus constantly played at least 10 yards out from the net, but managed to cleanly save every shot of the Indians’ onslaught. “They had a few chances, but I think we had three times more chances than they had,” Mitrovitch said. “Very good chances and then we got scored on on one of the things we do best, which is defending set pieces. So it’s disappointing, but super proud of the effort, the fight.” The overtime period was Hart’s fourth overtime of playoffs. Until this point, the Indians had won two of their three postseason games in either single or double OT. “We just wanted them to keep fighting, keep believing and pay attention to details, which we didn’t at the end,” Mitrovitch said. “We fought all the way to the end, we played some good soccer and unfortunately soccer punishes. And today we got punished.”