By Ryan Menzie
For The Signal
The Hart Indians’ soccer season ended with a 3-1 second-round loss to the Santiago High Sharks.
While the Indians’ effort for a run in the playoffs was cut short, the future is bright for first-year head coach Gio Salinas.
Salinas’ team garnered a league title with eight of its 11 starters returning next season.
“The mentality was that it was our first time here and we’re here to show up and make a statement,” said Salinas.
“We had a three-hour trip against a crowd of 700 while we only had 12 and won in penalty kicks to qualify for state,” he said, referring to the playoff win against Huntington. “We’re really proud of the mentality of the boys from this season. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”
Of the eight starters returning next season, one of them will be junior Trenton Rickard. Rickard was named league MVP, and will look to lead the team to another postseason run next season.
“It was shocking for me to win the MVP because there were a lot of good competitors and I had a lot of good teammates,” said Rickard. “We were a Division 2 team this year. No one expected us to go as far as we did. Getting that far was an accomplishment on its own. We were disappointed but it was still an accomplishment.”
Salinas, Rickard and the rest of the Indians want to carry over their style of play they integrated this year into the next season. The goal is to win a CIF title and to become the first boys’ program in the Santa Clarita Valley to do so.
The team was helped by senior leadership, one of whom was team captain Cameron Castaneda. Castaneda enjoyed every second of being a leader and he hopes the boys will have a good season next season.
“Despite the short notice of the season, we played very well,” said Castaneda. “I want them to keep working hard, stay motivated, stay positive and enjoy the season and have fun because it can all go by quickly.”