After settling for a 1-1 tie in its first game of the 2018-19 season, Hart boys soccer tried to capture the first win against Los Alamitos in the Aliso Cup Tournament at Hart on Friday.
Beginning the game with a high-press, outside mids Lawrence Luna and Cameron Castañeda contested every pass, creating havoc for Los Alamitos.
That havoc paid dividends as the Indians scored the first and the last goal of the game to escape with a 2-1 victory, the first of the young season.
“Defensively we played well,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel. “I felt like in some moments we gave the ball away too easily, but we haven’t really trained that much so it’s normal for them to start as slow as they have. The players had energy and I think that’s a plus so from here on out it’s about working with them and focusing on what I want them to do.”
2018 All-SCV Player of the Year, Luna got the Indians (1-0-1) on the board first scoring 12 minutes into the game.
As the Los Alamitos goalkeeper tried to make a clever pass to one of his teammates, Luna stepped in front of the pass at about 15 yards out. Collecting himself and switching the ball onto his left foot Luna faked a shot to create a little more space and chipped a beautiful shot up and over the goalkeepers outstretched arms.
“I just saw an opportunity to put my team ahead and I decided to chip the keeper and take a long shot and luckily it went in,” Luna said.
With a 1-0 lead, Hart did a good job of deterring the Griffins runs and through passes down the middle and right flank.
Letting their guard down with just under 14 minutes to go in the half, Hart allowed a Griffins player to take a shot from about 25-yards out thinking that someone would stop it. No one did and the Griffins (0-1-1) leveled the game at 1-1.
In the second half, Los Alamitos came out just as aggressive as the Indians did to begin the game.
Winning almost every ball and making clean-crisp passes the Griffins looked poised to make a comeback.
But just as they had been doing the whole game the anchors of the of the backline, defenders Caleb Davenport and Justin Burrow issued a “no-fly-zone”, terminating every scoring opportunity for the visitors.
Along with substitute goalkeeper Lucas Enriquez, who made numerous crucial stops in the second half, the Indians were able to keep the game level.
“Coach told me that I had to change the game,” Enriquez said. “I had to bring up the mentality and bring up the pressure and that’s what I did.”
With just under five minutes to go, the Indians lined up for a throw-in from about the 18-yard box. Throwing the ball into the middle of the Griffins goal area, Davenport jumped in between multiple defenders, making contact with his head and flicking it past the keeper for the header to put the Indians ahead 2-1 for good.
“I was just told to wait at the top of the box because I normally flick the ball over so someone can head it in if something like that happens,” Davenport said. “I just got lucky and it went in.”
Pulling out the win, the Indians are undefeated through two games and will play Aliso Niguel tomorrow at Aliso Niguel in the final game of the Aliso Cup Tournament. Game time is still to be decided.
“I think I saw it in both games,” Jovel said. “The fight to keep the goal has been very good. As a group they have it in them to keep the score, sometimes we make little mistakes but as a group, we defended really well and they kept their composure to get the win.”