Foothill League winter sports winding down

Saugus' Riley Phipps (22) drives past Valencia defender Mailey Ballard (2). Dan Watson/The Signal
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Three Santa Clarita Valley winter sports teams have repeated as Foothill League champs, while one other has won the league title for the first time in many years.

Hart girls soccer was the first to secure a Foothill League title, beating Canyon on Jan. 30 to lock up the crown. The Indians finished undefeated in Foothill League play for the seventh consecutive season when they shut out Saugus on Feb. 6.

“It means a lot,” said senior Alyssa Irwin after beating Saugus. “Especially the undefeated part. It shows how much we can fight because in soccer games you never know what’s gonna happen. You can be the better team and you can lose, so it really shows how much we fight and how much we really wanted it.”

Hart finished 9-0-1 in Foothill League play and only allowed five goals. Overall, the Indians won 20-of-24 games, dropping one game to Division-1 foe Long Beach Poly. They tied the other four.

Hart had strength in its boys program this year, as well, with the Indians repeated as the Foothill League champions for the third straight time. The team won the title outright in their last game of the season by beating Saugus, 2-1.

With under a minute left in the regulation, the Indians’ Ryan Lopez scored a goal to beat the Centurions.

“The ball came to me and I said to myself, ‘Shoot it. What can I lose?’” Lopez said. “It’s the last seconds of the game and I have to take my chances.”

Hart finished 15-2-3 overall and went 6-1-3 in Foothill League action, winning seven of their final league games.

The third SCV team to repeat as a league champion is Valencia boys basketball. The Vikings only lost one game en route to the league crown and were able to clinch the title by beating Golden Valley on Feb. 4.

“(It) feels amazing,” said Valencia senior Noah Veluzat. “We put in so much work and we stuck with it all year. To say that we clinched the Foothill League championship is pretty cool.”

Unlike Hart girls and boys soccer and Valencia boys basketball, Saugus girls basketball waited eight years in between Foothill League titles.

The Centurions beat Canyon to win the title, then beat Hart in the same week to become the first Saugus basketball team — girls or boys — to complete an undefeated Foothill League season.

“There’s so many emotions going through my mind right now,” said Saugus senior Monique Febles after going undefeated. “Four years ago, I would’ve never thought we’re going to be where we are right now, but I’m so happy. We all worked hard for it and it’s just crazy. I’m so excited.” 

Hart soccer and Valencia boys basketball have already established themselves as arguable powerhouses in the league. But with Saugus girls basketball breaking through for a league title, they, too, could repeatedly be finding themselves among the elite in the future. 

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