Hart girls soccer beats West Ranch for eighth league win; Valencia, Saugus have firsts; SCCS dominates

Chloe Thurman (26) and Brooke Fenenbock (2) chase after a loose ball at West Ranch High School on Tuesday Feb. 4. // Photo courtesy of Stephanie Shrout

Hart girls soccer continued its dominance over the Foothill League with a. 3-0 victory against West Ranch at West Ranch High School on Tuesday afternoon.

“I thought we played well the first half,” said West Ranch head coach Eric White. “37 of the first 40 we went toe-to-toe with (Hart). It was good soccer to watch.”

Despite being dominant all season, that was not the case for the Indians in the first half. West Ranch played a phenomenal first half and made Hart’s (19-1-3 overall, 8-1 Foothill League) dominance seem like a ghost story. 

“Credit to them, they put on a ton of pressure,” said Hart head coach Guilherme Mitrovitch. “There are quite a few games already this season that we haven’t started the best.”

The Wildcats (9-8-4, 3-3-3) prevented Hart from creating offense and limited it to only six shots in the first half. A well-executed attack also put the Hart defense on its heels early. 

“Early on, the defense was definitely under a lot of pressure,” said Hart defender Julia Melchiore. “They were pressuring really hard, but we were responded by playing on the ground. We focused on making more direct chances instead of focusing on when we had the advantage”

Yumary Rubio played a key role in West Ranch’s ability to apply constant pressure on offense. Wherever the ball was in the first half, the number six was in the immediate vicinity to either create offense or keep Hart from even crossing midfield.

“Today I was feeling it,” Rubio said. “So, I was like, ‘I’m going to come out and I’m going to give it my all.’ I just wanted it to be a good game today.” 

The Indians managed to break through the Wildcat defense late in the first half. Alyssa Irwin emerged from a crowd of blue and white and fired a shot into the back of the net. Irwin’s goal and erased all doubt about Hart’s dominance.

More: Hart boys soccer shuts out West Ranch on Senior Night, secure postseason berth

“We kind of get better as the game progresses,” Mitrovitch said. “We’ve been doing an excellent job all season long scoring before half. Today was another example.”

Less than a minute later, Hart scored again. Melchiore nearly scored on the throw in, but the ball skimmed along the front of the crossbar. After is dropped down, West Ranch goalkeeper Hannah Everitt dove in an attempt to snag the ball and Hart’s Sarah Melvin took advantage of an open net.

“At the end of the first half we finally started to calm down,” Melvin said. “Once we got that first goal, we kind of relaxed, so we were able to get the second and the third. Once we start playing as a team, we feel the good vibes and the good energy, and everyone starts playing better.”

The Indians went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

Megan Sheehe (12) and Yumary Rubio (6) battle for the ball at West Ranch High School on Tuesday Feb. 4. // Photo courtesy of Stephanie Shrout.

West Ranch kept its momentum early in the second half. Both teams fired at will early in the second half, but West Ranch slowly took over in an attempt to erase the deficit. However, Harts defense was too tough for Wildcat attack. A combination of strong defense and athletic saves by Megan Kelly and Kiara Ramires lead to another clean sheet for the Indians.

Melvin erased any inkling of a comeback from the Wildcats with another goal in the 64th minute. She planted from roughly 27 yards out to drill the ball into the back of the net to give Hart a 3-0 lead.

“I try to get better every game,” Melvin said. “I’m still not content because you can never be content, you can always improve. But, I’m really happy I got those two goals. It really helps my confidence.”

Everitt may have allowed three goals, but the score does not reflect the way she or her teammates played. She had multiple saves that looked effortless for her, including one late in the second half where she dove at full extension to punch away what could have been another goal for the Indians.

“Everitt’s been playing out of her mind well,” White said. “One little miscue today, but then she saved us three other times. The girls have finally bought into that they know they’re good and they can pretty much play with any team they want to.”

The exciting conclusion to Foothill League girls soccer will be on Thursday. West Ranch will travel to Golden Valley and Hart will conclude the season at home against Saugus in an attempt to clean up its only blemish on its record. Both matches are at 3:15 p.m.

Sarah Melvin (6) sets up the attack against West Ranch on Tuesday Feb. 4. Mia Bradner (11) makes an attempt to slow her down. // Photo courtesy of Stephanie Shrout

Valencia 2, Golden Valley 0

The Vikings (5-7-6, 1-3-5) took home their first win since the start of league play after defeating the Grizzlies (4-10-3, 0-7-2) on Tuesday afternoon.

Both of Valencia’s goals were scored by Giselle Gomez and Dayna Storaker in a slow starting match. Isabelle Goralsky, Emily Disilverio, Cory Greer and Quinn Reynolds were also key components to the Vikings’ win.

Katlyne Herrera gave the Vikings’ attack headaches throughout the match, clearing multiple chances as Valencia attempted to set up attacks.

Valencia will hunt for its second league win when it hosts Canyon on Thursday at 5 p.m. Golden Valley will look to bounce back against West Ranch at home on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

Canyon 2, Saugus 1

The Cowboys (3-8-3, 3-4-2) snuck away with their third win of the season and third win in league after delivering Saugus (8-4-6, 3-1-5) its first league loss at Canyon High School on Thursday night.

Gia Briceno and Hayden Wade were the goal scorers for Canyon.

Presley Williams scored for Saugus on a corner kick delivered by Katie Russell.

Saugus will end the season at Hart in an attempt to be the only Foothill League team and second team in the state to defeat the Indians. That match will be at 3:15 p.m. Canyon will finish at home against Valencia at 5 p.m. Both matches are on Thursday.

Village Christian 2 at Santa Clarita Christian 8

Santa Clarita Christian girls soccer steamrolled Village Christian 8-2 on Tuesday night at SCCS.

Five different girls joined the scoring parade and four of them even tacked on some assists. Sydney Boswell was the player of the match. She had a hat trick, netting three goals and assists on 2 other goals. Briley Phelps was just as good, but her stats were the opposite. She scored two goals and assisted on three others.

Alyssa Hopewell, Lexi Kostjuk and Viviana Soler all scored a goal apiece. Hopewell and Kostjuk each had an assist as well.

Tuesday’s win was the Cardinals’ thirds straight. Winning again in their final game on Thursday will lock up the No. 2 spot in the Heritage League for the Cardinals. 

They will travel to Lancaster to take on Heritage League opponent Desert Christian at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Desert Christian High School.

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