Needing a win to stay in contention for the Foothill League title, Hart boys soccer traveled to West Ranch on Senior Night to take on the Wildcats in a league matchup on Tuesday.
A stellar performance from Joseph Ochoa, who recorded a hat trick, powered the Indians to a 3-0 shutout of the Wildcats.
“I’ve been practicing my shots,” Ochoa said. “I’ve been practicing them a lot even on the days that we don’t practice and I finally came through. I’m just happy I got the win for my team.”
Two minutes into the game, Ochoa stole a ball in West Ranch territory at the edge of the 18-yard box and took a shot, but Wildcats goalkeeper Ethan Bolita was ready with the kick-save.
Scoring his first goal of the day for Hart (12-6-5 overall, 5-0-4 in Foothill League) Ochoa lined up for a free kick in the 18th minute of play. Taking a swift shot on goal, Ochoa sent the ball hurling towards the West Ranch goal and past Bolita.
Jacob Gendein tried to keep the Wildcats (3-9-2, 1-7-1) in the game, battling for every loose ball and trying to find Josh Swanson or Adam Hernandez up top to complete their runs, but just couldn’t find the right opportunity to tie the game before the half.
Bolita came up big early in the second half between the posts for the Wildcats, making timely saves in the 48th, 53rd and 55th minute. He sent back two free kicks and a shot on goal that would have easily landed in the back of the net.
Hart’s persistence paid off with just five minutes left in regulation as Ochoa broke away for his second goal of the night in the 35th minute to put Hart ahead 2-0.
Two minutes later, due to a West Ranch miscommunication, Ochoa was able to net his third goal of the game to complete the hat trick as a West Ranch defender tried to clear a ball. Ochoa stayed on him and was able to get in between the ball to cap his three-goal performance.
“We needed a 1-0, 2-0, or 3-0 result today, so I’m proud of their work,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel. “Little by little we are getting better, but we still at times give silly balls away. Overall, today we played well.”
Both teams have one final game remaining in the regular season at 3:15 on Thursday as West Ranch heads to Golden Valley and Hart hosts Saugus.
Saugus 2, Canyon 1
Saugus (12-5-3, 5-2-2) defeated Canyon 2-1 at Canyon on Tuesday.
Alex Fryer and Dylan Sullivan scored a goal each for the Centurions and goalkeeper Ryan White saved a penalty kick to preserve the win for Saugus.
Fernando Sanchez scored the lone goal for Canyon (6-10-5, 3-3-3) on a corner kick late in the first half. Chase Moynihan stopped six shots in goal for the Cowboys.
Saugus hosts Hart at Saugus at 3:15 p.m on Thursday, while Canyon travels to Valencia at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Valencia 2, Golden Valley 0
The Vikings move to 8-1-8 and 5-0-4 on the season with the win. The Grizzlies are now 4-11-3 and 1-8.