Hart girls soccer can’t hang on to early lead against Notre Dame

Hart junior Alyssa Irwin heads the ball past the Notre Dame goalkeeper to draw first blood in a matchup with Notre Dame at Hart High School on Jan. 2. Cory Rubin/The Signal

For 67 minutes, the Hart girls soccer team held a one-goal lead over Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks on a windy Wednesday afternoon at Hart High School.

Unfortunately for the Indians, a couple of defensive breakdowns near the end of the game proved costly, as Hart fell 2-1 after allowing two goals within a two minute span.

The loss breaks a seven-game winning streak for Hart and the two goals conceded were the first goals Hart has allowed in its last six games.

“If you look at our game, we did not play good,” Hart head coach Guilherme Mitrovitch said. “We’re clearly not all that, so it’s good to put some people back in their shoes. They are a good team. We lost and we have a lot of work to do.”

Junior forward Alyssa Irwin got things going for Hart on offense from the first whistle. She got her head on a ball off an early corner kick, though the shot missed the net. A couple of minutes later she took a shot that went just wide right of the goal.

Irwin’s aggressiveness eventually paid off, as she scored Hart’s lone goal in the 27th minute.

Midfielder Mialani Noble kept possession while being swarmed by Notre Dame defenders in Knights territory, getting the ball to Stefani Woll. Woll delivered a cross to the middle of the box, which Irwin headed into the back of the net.

Hart junior Stefani Woll passes the ball to Mialani Noble in a matchup with Notre Dame at Hart High School on Wednesday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The Indians had a few more opportunities to score, attacking relentlessly and earning several corner kicks. However they weren’t able to net another goal.

“It’s a technical game and they are panicking. Their first touch is not good enough a lot of times and a lot of easy connections we missed today,” Mitrovitch said. “Overall the energy wasn’t there. We couldn’t keep the ball the way we normally do and we had two really silly breakdowns and they punished us.”

The breakdowns came in succession toward the latter stages of the game. First, Hart was called for a foul just outside of its own box, giving Notre Dame great position for a free kick.

The Knights scored on the free kick, tying the game at 1-1 and giving them momentum to keep on attacking.

Notre Dame was able to break through Hart’s normally impenetrable defense to score the game-winning goal less than two minutes later.

“Not being focused, not being ready,” Mitrovitch said about giving up two goals in less than two minutes. “We made a little bit of an error and we got punished for it and then we kind of lost our shape and the second goal came right after.”

The Indians were without starting defender Kendall De La Vega, who suffered a head injury last week in the first game of the Hart Varsity Showcase against Fillmore.

Mitrovitch said his team is going to study the loss and use it as a lesson to get better as the season progresses.

“We just didn’t play, we didn’t show up, didn’t earn it,” Mitrovitch said, “but it’s a lesson to learn. They know they have a lot to learn and they will watch the tape by themselves and we will watch as a team.”

Hart will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday when it plays Canyon in the third league game of the year. The Indians are currently 2-0 in league and the Cowboys are 1-1.

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