A heavy dose of rainfall didn’t stop Hart and Saugus girls soccer on Tuesday afternoon as the two teams battled the elements and each other in a tough Foothill League matchup.
The Indians were able to come out victorious 2-1 behind goals from Caitlin “Patty” Pieper and Jensen Shrout to maintain their stranglehold on the league.
Hart was the aggressive team from the get-go, pushing the tempo to the tune of four first-half corner kicks.
In the 19th minute, midfielder Stefani Woll took a corner kick for Hart. Alyssa Irwin got her foot on the ball and shot. It was deflected to the feet of Pieper, who rebounded and finished to give Hart a 1-0 advantage.
Set pieces were crucial for the Indians all game, as both goals came off of them.
“We talked a lot Monday, a lot today that this game was going to be decided on set pieces and the little details because of the weather,” Hart head coach Guilherme Mitrovitch said. “We definitely knew the set pieces were going to be big, and we talk about not just scoring off the first header, but winning the first header and making something happen. And actually, the goals were off winning the first header then a second deflection.”
The second goal came in the 55th minute when Saugus was called for a foul near the 30-yard line. Again, Woll stepped up to take a free kick and found Ali Thompson.
Thompson used her right heel to make a backwards pass to Shrout, who delivered the game-winning goal.
“Patty and Jensen, they’ve been dominating and do so much for the team it’s nice to see them getting rewarded too,” Mitrovitch said. “They work so hard and are so important to our defensive shape and sometimes they don’t get all the glory, so I’m excited for them.”
“It was a great feeling. Much needed. Everybody is so supportive and it’s nice to score.” Shrout said. “We try to get set piece goals because they are very necessary goals and sometimes it comes down to that and it did this game.”
The Centurions battled throughout and were able to tie the game right before the end of the first half as Kaelyn Viger received an on-point pass from Sofia Rubio. Viger delivered a strike to net Saugus’ lone goal.
Saugus had other opportunities to score in the second half as sophomore Brooke Chambers used nice touch to get an arcing shot toward Hart’s goal in the opening minute after intermission, but Indians goalkeeper Kaycie Priske made a clutch save.
The Cents also had a corner kick toward the end of the game and almost netted a goal off a couple of deflections, but couldn’t get it past Priske a second time.
“I’m proud of my girls. They battled. I told them whoever overcame the elements was going to win the game, maybe they overcame the elements a little bit better than us today,” Saugus head coach Kevin Miner said. “They are a great team. Coach G just does a great job getting his team prepared every time they step on the field and I think we’re right there with them.
“Their two goals came on set pieces and I don’t think we gave them many opportunities and that’s what we preach, play tough defense, limit opportunities. With the wet weather, the ball kind of skipped around, deflecting off our girls a little bit and gave them a lot of corner kicks early.”
Hart moves to 12-3-1 overall and 5-0 in league and will face Golden Valley on Friday in a home contest.
Saugus drops to 12-2-5 and 3-1-1 in league and will face Valencia at home on Friday.
West Ranch 5, Golden Valley 0
The Wildcats move to 3-2 in league play and 7-2-2 overall with Tuesday’s road win against Golden Valley.
Tatum Summerfield scored three goals, Cassidy Imperial-Pham scored one goal and Lizeth Gutierrez rounded out the scoring for West Ranch.
The Grizzlies fall to 3-10-2 overall and remain winless in league.
Canyon 2, Valencia 1
The Cowboys notched their second league win of the season, moving to 5-7-3 overall and 2-3 in league. The Vikings move to 7-5-3 overall and 1-3-1 in league play.
Lauren Huntsinger scored the lone goal for Valencia.