By Hart boys soccer coach Adonay Jovel’s estimation, his team should’ve led by as much as 5-0 after the first half Wednesday afternoon at Garden Grove.
In the end, Jovel and the Indians had to settle for a 3-2 victory, sending the team to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals.
Hart will host La Mirada at 3 p.m. on Saturday. It’s the team’s first trip to the quarterfinals since making it to the Division 4 final in 2015.
“Our guys put it to them early but we still left some opportunities on the board,” said Jovel, referencing the team’s 2-0 halftime lead. “Our defense held on strong late for us and we stayed disciplined, which you have to when you get this deep in the postseason.
Goals from Timothy Kim and Lawrence Luna put the Indians up 2-0 at the half. Jaden Nguyen found Kim on a breakaway in the 15th minute and Brandon Martinez assisted on Luna’s first-half goal in the 38th minute.
Even with a first-half advantage, Jovel couldn’t help but look back on missed opportunities off breakaways from Luna and Nguyen.
“Normally, that’ll come back to hurt you in the playoffs,” Jovel said. “I think you could tell (Garden Grove) wasn’t really ready for us. We had a ton of chances in the first half.”
Luna struck again early in the second half, scoring an unassisted goal which proved to be the game-winner in the 48th minute.
Garden Grove added both of its goals on free kicks following Luna’s goal, with the second coming in the 68th minute.
“There’s really nothing we could’ve done on either of those free kicks,” Jovel said. “They were just great shots, and other than that, our defense was containing them all day.”
“ … I think we got a bit tired after the first half because we just kept attacking and attacking. That led to some of those fouls that ended in goals.”
Winners of the Foothill League, Hart has not picked up a loss since Jan. 2 against El Camino Real. Its only tie in that span came against Canyon on Feb. 2.