In the first round of the CIF SoCal Regional Division 1 playoffs, Hart girls soccer encountered an opponent that it had never faced this season: grass.
It was the first game all year that the Indians had not played on an artificial surface, and they fell to Bullard High of Fresno, 2-0, Tuesday on the road.
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“In a small field with thick grass, the ball doesn’t roll the way it normally rolls,” said coach Guilherme Mitrovitch. “It doesn’t bounce the way it normally bounces. So you have to play a little different, a little bit more direct and we just had a little bit of a hard time adjusting.”
The game was scoreless until the second half when the Knights counter-attacked after the Indians turned the ball over.
Bullard scored once more to close out the second half on an exposed Hart defense.
The Indians lost in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 semifinals to Mater Dei of Santa Ana on Feb. 28. Mitrovitch thinks that the loss still lingered, damaging the team’s spirits.
“It’s very hard to get focused again and get your groove going after you lose such an emotional game,” he said.
This season, Hart was the undefeated champion of the Foothill League for the fourth consecutive season and competed in Division 1 after moving up from Division 2.