Two hours before taking on Righetti of Santa Maria on Friday, the Hart boys soccer team sat together in a classroom, mentally preparing for the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 tournament game. “Just to talk about strategy and how we wanted to win and carry on our momentum,” said senior defender Jake Erazo. “We met in our little classroom and (coach Adonay Jovel) took us to see our trophies and what legacy we want to leave as season.” The Indians went on to beat the Warriors 4-1, successfully adding to the momentum of a league season that featured a Foothill League title and not a single loss. Three Hart goals were scored in the first half – the first coming from Jose Fuentes with an assist from Dillon Vega. Erazo played the ball to Jaden Nguyen, who took a shot from the top of the box for the next goal. Erazo added his second assist of the afternoon on the Indians’ third goal of the afternoon, which was scored on a routine play.
Hart defender Jake Erazo talks about how important coming out with a big win in the first round of playoffs was: pic.twitter.com/wFM7WDTdqS
“We were paying out of the back and Dillon passed me the ball and I heard Darwin (Herrera),” said Erazo. “Usually he calls for it pretty high up and we hit it throughout the season and throughout practice. I always see him in the same run. I just hit that ball over and the defense was up pretty high, so he got to the ball and tripped them over.” Holding a 3-0 lead heading into halftime, Hart (16-6-2) shifted its focus to defending and keeping a tight midfield for the remainder of the game. Vega scored on a header off a throw-in in the 51st minute, but Righetti (11-11-1) squandered the shutout with a goal in the 66th minute. The Indians will play Garden Grove on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Until then, they’re embracing the energy collected from the win over the Warriors. “We got early goals and that makes it easier,” said Jovel. “It’s a good build for us. We’ll see how the other game goes. Every game gets harder and harder, so we’re just starting right now.”