The West Ranch High girls soccer team had two goals at the beginning of the season: to win the Foothill League title and after that, advance beyond the first round of playoffs.
The former wasn’t achieved – Hart won the league title with an undefeated season – but the latter is still up for grabs.
“We set a goal and we work hard to achieve that goal,” said midfielder Rheanna Patterson. “And if we fall short, we work hard to achieve our second goal, and we’re always helping each other out to become better both as people and as athletes.”
The Wildcats (11-4-6) have earned a playoff berth the past four seasons but have never moved on past the first round.
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They’ll have the chance to do so this Thursday at home against No. 3 seed Agoura High.
West Ranch lost to the Chargers (9-6-4) in preleague, 2-0.
“We have a little familiarity there,” said coach Jared White. “Obviously teams are a lot different in the middle of February than they are at the end of November, but we feel good.”
Hart High, which is entering the postseason on a seven-game win streak, will be playing in Division 1 after competing in Division 2 last season.
The Indians will face Long Beach Poly (9-8-3), which reached the quarterfinals of the Division 1 CIF-Southern Section finals last season.
“We’re really excited. In the past we’ve done well in D2, and we think going D1 will be a challenge, but we’re up to it,” said senior Kassie Matthews. “We’re excited to see what it’ll be like.”
The entire starting lineup for the Indians (19-2-4) except for two players has postseason experience, with Matthews leading the way with four playoff seasons.
“Even though the division changed, I think the fact that we are ready from CIF runs in the last three years could help us with keeping the nerves down and knowing that we know what it takes,” said coach Guilherme Mitrovitch. “We’ve been there before and those games are difficult sometimes.”
Here is the full list of playoff pairings for Santa Clarita Valley teams. All games will be on Thursday, aside from Trinity Classical Academy, which will compete in a wild-card game this afternoon.
Long Beach Poly at Hart
Agoura at West Ranch
Valencia at San Luis Obispo
Rialto at SCCS
Albert Einstein Academy at California Academy of Mathematics and Science
Trinity Classical Academy at AGBU/Canoga Park (wild-card Tuesday)