The Hart girls soccer team took the field early Thursday morning for its first game of the annual Hart Varsity Showcase.
The 8 a.m. start and brisk weather didn’t seem to throw off the Indians, who continued their recent string of success with a 5-0 victory over Fillmore at Hart High School.
In its last three games, including two Foothill League contests, Hart has scored 19 goals and haven’t conceded a score.
Hart allowed only one shot on goal on Thursday and didn’t allow a shot attempt in the second half.
“When you don’t concede, you are in every game. We take pride in shutouts,” said Hart head coach Guilherme Mitrovitch. “The key for that is communication, organization, everybody working hard and it’s not just the defense. When the rest of the team protects the defense, the defense looks good. At the end of the day I’m proud of the defenders and goalkeepers for what they’re doing, but it’s a total team effort.”
Stefani Woll got Hart on the board early, connecting on a header from a cross delivered by Alyssa Irwin in the 10th minute.
Minutes later, Sarah Melvin found Woll again, who fired a shot into the left corner of the net, giving the Indians an early 2-0 lead.
“I think it’s always nice to have people who give us such golden opportunities in front of the net,” Woll said. “It helps the offense to gain that momentum as we’re able to connect well and gives us a positive energy that motivates us further.”
Shortly after Woll’s second goal, Melvin found herself on a breakaway after utilizing nice touch to get through Fillmore’s defense.
Going one-on-one against the opposing goalkeeper, Melvin blasted a shot into the back of the net, giving Hart a 3-0 lead heading into intermission.
“I think the last few games our offense is rolling. Sometimes a goal, an assist, it gives them even more confidence going forward,” Mitrovitch said. “I think our whole offense is rolling in the last few games and you can see that they are enjoying each other. Once that confidence is there, the offense flows better.”
The Indians didn’t stop attacking after the first half, as Woll returned the favor for Irwin, finding her near the top of the box.
Irwin was able to break through the defense and find the back of the net in the 42nd minute.
“It was fantastic. She set me up perfectly in the first half,” Woll said. “To give her that opportunity to get a goal was well deserved by her.”
It wouldn’t be the last for Irwin, who kept attacking relentlessly.
In the 65th minute, Irwin dribbled through three Fillmore defenders, maintaining possession and finding herself with a golden opportunity to score.
Before she could get off a shot she got fouled in the box, and the referee awarded Hart with a penalty kick.
Irwin stepped up to take the shot and blasted the ball in the right corner, as Fillmore’s goalkeeper couldn’t even make an attempt at a save.
With Hart holding a sizable advantage, Mitrovitch was able get most of his reserves in the game which is crucial in a tournament, especially with Hart playing a second game later on Thursday.
“We play the same way, but if we get a lead in this game we try to keep the ball more and try to make the other team chase a little more instead of us expending energy,” Mitrovitch said when asked if the game plan changes when playing two games in one day. “We talked about not over-dribbling at halftime. We wanted to keep the ball more and make them chase more to save energy.”
“Having a game like this when we’re able to sub in a lot of players, I think a lot of us still have a good amount of energy for the second game,” Woll said. “Everyone trains so hard in practice and getting ready for these games so being able to let some of the other players get out on the field is always so fun.”
Hart faced Pacifica at 2 p.m. at Hart High School, winning 8-0 to advance to the semifinals of the tournament. Hart will face the winner of Pool B on Friday at 11 a.m. at College of the Canyons.