The Golden Valley and Hart high school boys soccer teams battled to a 1-1 tie in their Foothill League matchup at Golden Valley on Tuesday.
The Grizzlies (3-4-2) fended off the Hart Indians (3-1-2), who are in first place in the Foothill League. When both teams last faced off in December, Hart took the win in a 2-0 match.
Hart’s Marco Flores made many attempts and attacked the goalie repeatedly. He was able to help set the game’s tempo and followed through with a goal at the 13-minute mark in the first half of the game.
“We did well in being able to keep the ball and creating opportunities,” Hart coach Dennis Lazo said. “I think we definitely need to keep working on finishing in that final third; we had a lot of opportunities in the box.”
Lazo felt the team did well and showed strength with effective transitioning but noted the team needed to improve on defense, which is what cost Hart the win, according to Lazo.
“The boys played well in the second half, we came out strong, and then just one mistake was able to cost us the game,” Lazo said. “Golden Valley definitely came out strong, and they definitely gave us a good game.”
Hart remained ahead 1-0 and kept applying pressure on Golden Valley’s goalie going into halftime.
Golden Valley’s head coach Stephen Evison said he knew the match would be difficult because Hart has some of the best wingers and strikers in the league.
Evison said the transition from defensive to an offensive alignment hurt the Grizzlies but said they have a real opportunity to compete in the league playoffs if they can improve.
However, Golden Valley quickly capitalized on an opportunity, and freshman Anthony Padilla scored a goal at the 21-minute mark to tie the match.
“Everyone missed the header and the center of the box,” Padilla said. “It just happened to be the right place, the right time to tap the ball in between the keeper and three defenders.”
Padilla said he never gives up at practice and gives it his all, and “enough is never enough” when training. Additionally, Padilla said he felt happy to score a goal on the varsity team as a freshman and feels an incredible honor to play with the team.
“He’s actually a freshman, got called up today, and it just seems like every time you put the kid on the field, he just scores goals, and he just scored a goal today,” Evison said.
Moving forward, Golden Valley needs to increase its intensity and tempo to compete with all the other league teams, according to Evison.
“We really need to make sure in practice and our training, we just match the intensity of what Hart, Saugus and Canyon bring in games,” Evison said.
Both teams continued to play aggressively and made many attempts at a goal, but neither team was able to score another goal, leaving the game tied at the end.
The Indians return home on Thursday to take on the Saugus Centurions at 3:15 p.m. The Grizzlies are scheduled to play an away game against Canyon High School on Thursday at 5 p.m.