Hart girls soccer beats Saugus, secures undefeated league title

Hart girls soccer celebrates another undefeated league title. // Photo courtesy Stephanie Shrout

Going undefeated in Foothill League in girls soccer is difficult, but somehow, Hart has managed to do it this season. In addition to the six seasons prior.

“It’s just absolutely amazing to know about all the hard work that came before us and all the hard work that we’re going to put into it,” said Indians senior Julia Melchiore. “It’s just another driving force that we have every single game and it unites our team all the time and it’s just something to look forward to and keep strong.”

Hart capped off its seventh consecutive undefeated Foothill League season on Thursday afternoon after beating Saugus 1-0.

Throughout the first half, it was difficult to tell which team had the edge as the Indians’ defense had to consistently work to clear out repeated balls from the Centurions’ quick and aggressive offense.

“We talked about really simply calming down not panicking. Trying to play to feet and not force things and try and work for good shots and we really did a good job of that today,” said Saugus coach Kevin Miner.

In the 12th minute, Shaina Berdin took a shot from the top of the box, but Hart goalkeeper Megan Kelly made a diving save to prevent the goal.

Maggie Yoshioka (22) collects a high pass against Saugus High School on Thursday Feb. 6. // Photo courtesy Stephanie Shrout

“I think that might be her best or top two saves she had all season,” said Indians coach Guilherme Mitrovich. “Their best player, she got a very good shot and Kelly reacted very well.”

The Centurions’ Michelle Walker gave her team another promising chance, but again Kelly came up big and jumped on the ball as it rolled towards the goal line.

In the second half, Saugus had the chance to score on numerous set pieces, with the best scoring chance coming from Berdin on a free kick. The ball went up and over the crossbar, however, and there remained no score between the two teams.

“If we follow our mark, everything should be good,” Melchiore, a defender, said of clearing the set pieces. “It’s just one of those things where if everyone does their part everything will work out fine and we’ve just got a win the first ball and the second ball and for the most part, Hart has always been strong at that and we were good at this game today.”

More: Hart boys soccer wins Foothill League outright with last-minute goal; GV and Valencia win

Hart was able to break the scoring silence In the 42nd minute. Alyssa Irwin had managed to get open right in front of the net, allowing Jensen Shrout to feed her the goal for the tap-in.

“You’ve just got it you got to remember that you can always put one away,” Irwin said. “Even if there’s 30 seconds left in the game, you can always put one in.”

The win keeps Hart in first place in the Foothill League standings and gives them an automatic Division 1 playoff berth. Saugus also clinched a playoff berth and will compete in the Division 2 playoffs.

CIF-Southern Section brackets will be released on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

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