2018-19 Hart Year in Review

Hart volleyball coach Mary Irilian holds up “undefeated” signs as she is swarmed by her team. The Indians became the first undefeated Foothill League champions in program history on Thursday after sweeping Saugus at Hart. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Continuing their traditional excellence in athletics, Hart High School had a very productive 2018-19, reaching some new heights. The Indians welcomed new faces and said goodbye to familiar ones.

Clinching the Foothill League title for the sixth consecutive season, the Hart girls soccer team, led by All-SCV girls soccer Player of the Year Alyssa Irwin, who netted 22 goals and assisted on six others over the course of the season, went a perfect 10-0 in league play.

Allowing just five goals while netting 41 goals in Foothill League play, the Hart girls team was as stout on defense as they were lethal in the attacking third.

“I’m very proud and excited for the girls because this kind of run doesn’t happen too often. Going 10-0, but also a six-peat in league,” said Hart head coach Guilherme Mitrovitch after the 2-1 road win over Saugus that clinched the undefeated season.

The boys soccer team completed an undefeated Foothill league season going 6-0-4 on the way to a share of the league title along with Timothy Kim being named the All-Foothill League co-Player of the Year.

The boys volleyball team ushered in a new era as assistant coach Loy Mueller took over head coaching duties for Jeannie Brauninger. Notching a 3-2 win over Burbank High School in their first match with Mueller at the helm, the Indians finished 6-4 in Foothill League play to earn a CIF-SS Division 2 wild-card playoff match.

Facing off against St. Francis High School, the Indians won in five games to advance to the first round where their season came to an end against the eventual champions, Saddleback Valley Christian.

The girls volleyball team was the third Hart athletics team to go undefeated in Foothill League play and win a league title. Featuring the All-SCV girls Player of the Year, Kylie Mattson, the Hart girls only lost six games during the season, three of which came against Division 1 or 2 opponents.

Advancing to the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs, Hart was the last girls Foothill League team standing reaching the quarterfinals by beating St. Paul and Citrus Valley in the first and second rounds before falling to Cypress in the quarterfinals.

After all was said and done, the Hart girls took down three school records as Mattson set the assist record (687), Zoe DiNardo broke the single-season kill record (283) and Shelby Grubbs surpassed her own single-season block record (140).

Hart’s swim team finished the Foothill League finals and the year with a bittersweet taste in their mouths as the came away with nine individual and relay titles, winning the boys 200-yard medley relay, boys and girls 500-yard freestyle, girls 100-yard backstroke and the girls 400-yard freestyle relay, but said goodbye to Hart swim head coach Steve Neale who retired after 35 years at Hart.

“Really, this whole entire season we have been wanting it to be the best season we can possibly make it,” said Hart girls swimmer Maxine Catig after Foothill League finals. “On our cars outside it says: ‘Do it for Neale’ or it will say ‘Honk for Steve Neale’ because we just want to send him off in the best way possible. And everyone is just like, ‘We can do this’ and just wanting to do the best for Neale.”

Female Athlete of the Year (as selected by the school)

Kendall De La Vega

De La Vega was a critical member of the Foothill League champion girls soccer team. The senior anchored a defense that allowed only five goals in league and went undefeated. She also used her speed to attack on the wings and get involved on offense. De La Vega also participated in track and field, coming in second place in the long jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles at the Foothill League Finals.

Male Athlete of the Year (as selected by the school)

Jacob Montes

A dual-sport athlete, Montes excelled on both the football field and lacrosse field. He led the Indians in receiving yards with 815 on 65 receptions, adding five touchdowns. He was second on the team in tackles with 75 and also had three interceptions. In lacrosse, he ranked third on the team with 25 goals and logged 31 assists.

Five most memorable teams

Girls soccer

Winning league titles isn’t anything new for the Indians, and this year it was an undefeated season, too. The Indians featured a suffocating defense that allowed only five league goals all season. They reached the Division 1 playoffs, beating El Dorado in the first round before falling to runner-up Los Alamitos.

Boys soccer

The Indians clinched their second league title in a row using a solid starting 11 that could do it all on the field. Their depth was also key, with several substitutes off the bench capable of playing starting roles. They finished 13-7-5 overall and 6-0-4 in league, not losing a single match against league competition.

Girls volleyball

Repeating as the Foothill League Champions, the Hart girls began the year with one goal: undefeated league champs. Winning all 10 Foothill League matches, the Indians accomplished the feat thanks to the overall team chemistry and passion to win finishing with an overall record of 23-6.


Finishing third in the Foothill League, the Indians had a dynamic offense that averaged 32.8 points per game in Foothill League play led by quarterback and Cal commit Zach Johnson. Coupled with a daunting defense that forced 22 turnovers throughout the year, Hart finished league play on a three-game winning streak to qualify for the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.

Boys swim

Finishing as the Foothill League season champs, the Hart boys battled their way to the top throughout the season. Ending the 2018-19 season with four Foothill League titles in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay, along with Dawson Waage and Jonathan Quick winning individual titles in the 50-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, respectively, this year’s Indians boys team was lighting fast.

Five most memorable male athletes

Zach Johnson

In his first year as the starting quarterback, Johnson flourished, leading the Foothill League in passing yards with 2,892 and passing touchdowns with 30. His 99.8 QB rating was also tops in the league. Johnson’s legs were also a vital weapon, as he rushed for 347 yards and four touchdowns on 107 carries.

Timothy Kim

The starting center back for the Foothill League boys soccer co-champions, Kim served as the ultimate stopper for the Indians. Hart allowed only nine goals in league, and a big reason was Kim’s presence on the back line. He took advantage of the scoring opportunities he had, scoring three goals on set pieces.

Gavin Leising

Standing at 6-foot-8, Leising used his length to cause headaches for the opposition. The junior boys volleyball finished third in the league in kills with 260 and led his team in blocks with 45, helping Hart to a third-place league finish and reach the playoffs

Luke Papayoanou

The No. 1 singles player for Hart’s tennis team, Papayoanou got stronger and more confident as the season progressed. The sophomore helped lead his team to the CIF-SS playoffs and he also qualified for the CIF-SS Individual Championships after coming in second at the Foothill League Finals. His trip to the tournament was the first for a Hart singles player in over a decade.

Dawson Waage

One of the fastest boys freestylers in the Foothill League, the Naval Academy commit was one of the heralded leaders of the Hart swim team. Finishing his Hart swim career with an individual Foothill League titles in the 50-yard freestyle while winning the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay. Qualifying for CIF-SS prelims and finals, Waage placed fifth in the 50-yard freestyle and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle to advanced to state in both events. At the State Meet, Waage swam his way to a seventh-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle and an 11th place in the 50-yard freestyle.

Five most memorable female athletes

Emma Allen

An All-SCV and All-Foothill League girls basketball first-team selection, Allen led the Foothill League in assists with 101 on the season, averaging 4.4 per contest. Ending her junior season almost averaging a double-double with 8.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, Allen ranked eighth and fourth, respectively, in the Foothill League, according to MaxPreps.com. She was also top two in the league with 1.5 blocks and 2.3 steals per game.

Maxine Catig

Winning multiple Foothill League swim titles in the 100-yard backstroke and the 400-yard freestyle relay, Catig was a force to be reckoned with in the water. At CIF-SS Division 1 finals, Catig won the title in the 100-yard backstroke with an All-American time of 54.44. Her senior year should be exciting, to say the least.

Alyssa Irwin

The All-SCV girls soccer Player of the Year, Irwin led the Foothill League with 22 goals, 12 which came during league play. She had several multi-goal games and also added six assists. Her ability to get behind the defense with her speed and touch made her the most lethal weapon in the league.

Kylie Mattson

According to her Indians teammates, Mattson was the quarterback of one of the most dangerous and stacked Hart girls volleyball teams in a while. The All-SCV girls volleyball Player of the Year, Mattson was a key cog in Hart’s title defense and first undefeated Foothill League season in the school’s history. She ended her senior year breaking the 5-year-old assists record finishing with 687 assists on the year.

Stefani Woll

Whether it was on the soccer field or on the tennis court, Woll did it all. As a ball-controlling midfielder, she racked up assists by finding her teammates for great goal-scoring opportunities. She was also Hart’s main set piece taker, lining up booming corner kicks to open teammates. She had an exceptional tennis season as well, pairing up with teammate Jennifer Russell to form a dynamic doubles team. The duo were named All-SCV girls doubles team of the year.

Playoff teams


Finishing the regular season on a three-game win streak in Foothill League play with wins over Canyon, West Ranch and Golden Valley, Hart ended Foothill League play in third place and earned a home game in the first round of playoffs. Hosting Moorpark, the Indians pushed the Musketeers to the limit, but ultimately fell 42-28.

Girls tennis

Loaded with talent in both the singles and double side, Hart finished in third place in the Foothill League and made a deep run in the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs. After winning a wild-card match, the Indians won two more matches to reach the quarterfinals.

Boys tennis

Ripe with young talent, the boys tennis team continued to get better as the season progressed. Like their counterparts on the girls team, the boys squad finished in third place in the Foothill League and reached the postseason, falling in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs.

Girls volleyball

Clinching the program’s first undefeated Foothill League season, the Hart girls were as fierce and fiery as any team high-level team. Qualifying for the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs, the Indians swept St. Paul in the first round, then took down Citrus Valley in the second round in four games after dropping the first game. Hart fell to Cypress in the quarterfinals.

Boys swim

The Foothill League season champs, the Indians boys team sent two relay teams to the CIF-SS Division 1 prelims and finals as the 200-yard medley relay team finished in third place and fifth place, respectively. At the State Meet, the 200-yard medley relay team swam to a 13th-place finish while the 400-yard freestyle relay team came in 12th.

Girls swim

At Foothill League finals, the Hart girls team came away with five total titles: in the 400-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, along with the diving title. At CIF-SS Division 1 finals, the 400-yard freestyle relay team ended the meet in fifth place and 200-yard freestyle relay came in eight-place.

Boys soccer

Winning a share of the Foothill League title, the Indians went undefeated in league play. They completed the regular season on an eight-game undefeated streak before falling to Dos Pueblos in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.

Girls soccer

The Indians finished the regular season undefeated in Foothill League play, losing just three games to advance to the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs. Drawing El Dorado in the first round the Hart girls netted a second half goal to advance 1-0 before falling to Los Alamitos, the eventual runner-up.

Boys volleyball

First-year head coach Loy Mueller led the Indians to a third-place Foothill League finish, beating Simi Valley, Harvard-Westlake and Valencia along the way. Qualifying for the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs, the Indians hosted St. Francis in a wild-card game, winning 3-2, but fell to the eventual CIF-SS Division 2 champions Saddleback Valley Christian in the first round.

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