When someone hits you, you hit them back. That is the physical and mental aspect of any sporting event to show who has the upper hand. The Hart Indians and the Saugus Centurions showed plenty of aggression in their match with the referees letting the girls play until the very end with only one yellow card being thrown.
A battle of two of the top three teams from the Foothill League showed the toughness the league is all about as Hart (6-1-1, 6-0-1) beat Saugus (7-3-1, 3-2-1), 3-1, on Thursday.
After a 2-2 tie in their first match, the Indians finished on top to win the season series.
“Our team came with a lot of fight,” said Indians’ head coach Brett Croft. “We did enough to get the points on the board so it was a statement game for us for sure. It’s tough as a coach because usually when a team goes up, they want to be more defensive. I think the best part of my team is the attack. High pressure on teams and making them uncomfortable and that’s what we did to win.”
Right from the start of the game it was easy to tell there would be no easy goals for either team. Only eight total shots at the goal combined for both teams were accumulated in the first half with the only goal in the first half coming off a penalty kick for the Indians at the 10-minute mark.
The penalty kick was scored by Maggie Yoshioka.
With the way the game was going, the Centurions needed an answer fast coming out to the second half or else they would stay down the rest of the game.
Alyssa Edwards nearly scored a goal for the Centurions at the 32-minute mark, but right after a corner pass from Kenna Gonzales, Natalie Quezada scored the goal the Centurions needed to still have hope. Unfortunately for the Centurions, it would be their final goal of the game.
“I’m proud of how the girls played,” said Centurions’ head coach Kevin Miner. “We were rusty and had to come out against a great team like Hart. They played hard, made a few mistakes and had a couple calls that went in their favor to put us on our heels. I’m not disappointed with the performance but obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome. It just wasn’t our day.”
The Indians continued their offensive game plan by staying aggressive and physical. Briley Phelps helped lead the charge for the Indians, showing the toughness Croft instills in his team despite the Saugus parents being aggravated with the lack of calls against the Indians.
Phelps would eventually be yellow-carded after kicking the ball out of frustration on a foul call, but not before she scored the second goal for the Indians at the 28-minute mark from a dead ball pass from Ari Sandoval making the score 2-1.
“We knew it was going to be a good game because of tying with them last time we played them,” said Phelps. “We knew it was going to be physical because of the way we played them the first time, but we were up to the battle.”
Sandoval would not be done dealing damage to the Centurions as she also scored a goal at the 14-minute mark to put the exclamation mark on the day for the Indians, bringing the final score to 3-1. Sandoval ended her day with one goal and one assist.
“I think we just connected really well as a team,” said Sandoval. “Our chemistry was good and it has been improving throughout the season. The assist was possible off a great goal by (Phelps) and I just did what had to be done for my goal. It felt great.”
Ryan Menzie, a graduate student at Cal State University, Long Beach for Kinesiology with the option Sport Management, graduated from Cal State University, Northridge with a BA in Communication Studies and a minor in Journalism. Have a story or want to talk about sports? Send an email to [email protected]