Hart girls’ soccer (1-1-1, 1-0) notched its first win of the year in style with a 10-0 blanking of Golden Valley (1-4, 0-1).
The Indians were exceptional on the field. The team moved the ball, cleared out the few Grizzly attacks and fed the forwards with precision passes that led to the big win.
Hart had two of its best enter league play with lights-out performances ending with hat tricks. San Diego commit Alexis Nguyen and junior Ariana Salvador both netted three goals for the Indians.
Sophomore Gianna Costello also scored a pair of goals in the win.
Hart applied pressure instantly and found the back of the net within the first 15 minutes with Nguyen’s first of the day. The senior would score again about 10 minutes later off a perfect pass from junior Natalie Mejia.
“I think our favorite thing and what we are most proud of is when we are able to get a goal not by an individual but when everyone is getting a touch on the ball,” said Nguyen. “I think one of our goals, there were four of us that got a touch on the ball up to the goal. It’s just combining and just making it really pretty. It’s what we want.”
Less than a minute later, Salvador knocked in her first goal after her first two shots were just inches off. The 3-0 lead prompted a platoon swap for the Indians, who subbed out every player on the field with 10 minutes to go in the first half.
“Ariana Salvador is somebody who is just a phenomenal player on the ball and is truly the heartbeat of our team. We go when Ari goes,” said Hart head coach Brett Croft. “Aside from that Ari does all the little things right that nobody sees, and is a great leader off the field. The girls love her, she’s a professional already. How she acts and carries herself, that’s just scratching the surface because her ability is absolutely phenomenal.”
The Grizzlies’ backline began the day playing disciplined defense. They cleared out balls and made some key deflections. However, the relentless Hart attack would eventually wear down the defenders and the scoring never stopped.
Golden Valley nearly netted a score late in the first half when senior Kaia Usher was awarded a free kick. Usher had a good shot but just missed over the goal. The team was struggling to connect on goal kicks and just couldn’t maintain possession against one of the better teams in the Southern Section in Hart.
The subs remained in the game to start the second half but the scoring wouldn’t stop.
The Grizzlies nearly cleared out a corner kick from Hart but a deflection bounced right in front of Indians’ junior Sophia Willis, who made it 4-0.
Costello then made it 5-0 with a long bomb from midfield that just snuck past Grizzly goalkeeper Jessica Gutierrez into the back of the net.
At 55 minutes with a 5-0 lead, head coach Brett Croft sent his starters back into the game in another platoon swap.
Senior Macey Edemann would get on the scorecard with a free kick goal at the 62-minute mark.
Nguyen registered her hat trick moments later. The future Triton received another great pass from midfield, shook her defender and launched in her third of the day.
Salvador would want to get in on the action as well, scoring consecutive goals in the 67th and 75th minute. The junior would only praise her team’s performance and chemistry on her big day.
“The chemistry, we are not toxic whatsoever,” said Salvador on what stands out about her team. “We’re great with each other because there’s some toxic teams, but we are really nice to each other. We get along with each other and everyone understands their role, their position, and we always do whatever we can to help each other. It’s not about individuals, we all think collectively.”
Hart couldn’t ask for a better start in league play and will look to build a win streak. The Indians’ non-league action is filled with top-ranked teams as they gear up for another run at CIF and potentially state.
“We’re super excited for this year,” said Croft. “Obviously we feel like we have unfinished business from CIF and state last year so league is the stepping stone to that. So we’re happy to start on the right foot.”
Croft is in his second year at the helm of the program but has seen a ton of Hart’s best squads over the years. He believes he may be coaching one of the best teams in that prestigious group.
“You could talk for a long time about the history of Hart soccer and the type of players that have come through, the coaches that have come here, the teams,” said Croft. “But, I’ll put this team up against any of them.”
Hart returns to the field Thursday for a league matchup at Saugus (2-0, 2-0) at 3:15 p.m. The Grizzlies will also be in league action at that time when they return home to host Canyon.