Eight minutes felt like an eternity for Hart boys soccer on Tuesday afternoon.
Due to the number of injuries in the Indians’ game against Saugus, that’s how long stoppage time ended up being.
“The mindset is that they stay relaxed a little bit more,” Hart coach Adonay Jovel said of how his team handled the extra time. “Don’t get so emotional so that they can make decisions a little bit better.”
The focus and patience resulted in a late goal by sophomore Lawrence Luna that sealed a 3-2 Foothill League win for the Indians (11-6-1 overall, 5-0 in Foothill League).
Luna, who had several opportunities to score throughout the game, capitalized on an open net with a little under two minutes remaining in stoppage time.
“In the beginning, I was too hyped up, but then I just settled my mind and I’m just like, you’ve got to put it away,” Luna said of the goal. “No more giving it away. I put it in.”
Frank Ornellas scored for the Centurions (8-5-4, 2-2-1) in the 22nd minute. The Saugus defense and goalkeeper Matt Sayers held off an energetic Indians attack for the remainder of the first half.
The scoreboard remained idle until the 52nd minute. On a set piece, Hart’s Dillon Vega leaped for a header and knocked it clean towards the right post.
The Indians struck again in the 73rd minute. Sayers made the initial save on a throw-in, but Jaden Nguyen gathered a rebound and shot it up and over Sayers.
“For us, it felt like it was a challenge,” Luna said. “We have won every game and we had to go with everything we had.”
In extra time, Saugus’ Colton Dolder exited the game with a cut on his head, leaving a spot on offense vacant.
“I just said to him, ‘Coach, put me up top,’ and he looked at Colton, looked back at me and just nodded his head and said, ‘Go.’”
Three minutes later, Sayers took advantage of an open net and scored to set the game to 2-all.
“That’s something that he’s played on the field for us before and we have a lot of confidence in Ryan White in goal as well,” said Saugus coach Seth Groller. “So that was something that we made that call and ended up working out for us. Temporarily, obviously.”
With the win, Hart remains the only undefeated team in the Foothill League.
West Ranch 2, Golden Valley 0
Danny Paredes and Connor Desser each scored for the Wildcats (8-2-2, 4-1), who next play at Canyon at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Golden Valley (3-9-1, 0-5) heads to Hart on Friday at 5 p.m.
Canyon 2, Valencia 1
Adam Rodriguez was responsible for both Cowboy goals, the second of which came on a header with less than a minute left to play.
Canyon is 4-12-2 and 2-3 and will next host West Ranch. Valencia, which is 3-7-3 and 1-3-1, will play at Saugus on Friday at 3:15 p.m.