Hart boys soccer was well aware of what they were up against when they took on El Camino Real of Woodland Hills at home on Tuesday.
The Conquistadors entered the match with only one loss on the season – they dropped a game to Buena in the Buena Tournament on Dec. 29.
Although the Indians competed through most of the game, El Camino Real ultimately proved their power in a 6-1 win over the Indians.
“After the third goal we kind of broke apart,” coach Adonay Jovel said. “It’s all about being patient, working hard … Once the third goal got in, we lost our momentum and our guys kind of got away. It is what it is.”
The Conquistadors (11-1-1) scored their first goal in the eighth minute off a long ball. Hart (5-6-1) didn’t counter until the 30th minute when senior Jaden Nguyen drilled a clean shot from the top of the box.
“Any time your team scores a goal, it just picks up the energy for everyone,” said Nguyen. “When they score on you it can take down the energy. If you score the energy gets picked back up even if you’re down by two or three.”
The score remained tied heading into halftime as the Indians slowly built up the pressure as the clock ticked away.
The urgency fizzled in the second half, however. El Camino Real scored three goals within nine minutes with little opposition. Hart struggled to capitalize on second balls and maintain possession.
“Defensively we need to work on our shape,” Nguyen said. “They really got into the give-and-go and we need to work on that and if we do that, I feel like we’ll be really good for league.”
The Indians lost nine players to graduation. Building up a sense of competition in this year’s team is a priority for Jovel.
But he certainly isn’t using the loss of last year’s experienced players as an excuse.
“The team was better. They outplayed us,” Jovel said. “You’ve got to accept that every year is a building year. You’ve got to play every year, you’ve got to try and build your team and we’re trying with what we have this year. We’ll be as prepared as we can be for league.”