Hart girls’ soccer (2-2-3, 2-0-1) dominated its Foothill League matchup with Castaic (4-3, 2-1) with a 5-0 win on Thursday. It was the Coyotes’ first scoreless match this season.
Four different Indians registered goals and assists in the win. Senior Alexis Nguyen would again lead the way with two goals and an assist.
Both teams were working the ball and applying pressure but no one could find the opening goal early in the game.
Castaic had a handful of plays but couldn’t work the ball inside for a decent shot on target.
Senior Briley Phelps would start off the scoring after 25 minutes in her first start since the season opener. It was one of the best goals Indians head coach Brett Croft had seen in his Hart tenure, with several positive touches on the ball leading to Phelps’ score.
“I just feel like it’s just we’re building every game,” said Phelps. “We’re getting a little more fluid every game and it’s helping us when we face bigger games.”
Nguyen would then score two straight goals to make it 3-0.
First, Hart forward Natalie Mejia sent a great cross into the box and a Nguyen header would make it 2-0. Phelps would get the next assist after dropping her defender and hitting Nguyen again in the box.
Hart amped up the pressure after every score and it looked like it would’ve been another 10-goal win if not for Castaic goalkeeper Keira Rankin and her 13 saves.
“My keeper has taken one step up since about two games prior to today,” said Castaic head coach Jose Leon. “And I told her today was your day to shine, and she was my player of the game. She was amazing.”
Junior Ariana Salvador would punch in the fourth of the day with a solid feed from Nguyen.
Hart would stay relentless and keep hounding on offense. Rankin managed to stop the first shot on an Indian attack but couldn’t secure the ball. Mejia would make it 5-0 off the tipped ball.
The Coyotes could never muster up much offense in the second half. Whenever the ball was forced into Indian territory, Macey Edemann and the Hart backline were ready for a quick clear. Ayla Noble also shined in the backline for the Indians, yet again playing out of her natural attacking mid position. Croft was pleased with his junior’s readiness to play anywhere again.
“The shining star not a lot of people talk about is Ayla Noble,” said Croft. “I call her the Swiss army knife, she played left back today. Every time I need someone to play somewhere at a high level, she’s ready and there.”
Hart has played a tough non-league schedule so far. The team is still looking for its first win outside of league play where they have two losses and three draws.
“The term I like to use is battle tested,” said Croft. “I think we’re in much better shape for playoffs because we’re battle tested. It has been challenging. I can see it in the girls, it’s been tough playing those games and then playing league games. But I think it will aid us in CIF and in state this year where we have unfinished business.”
The Indians will look for their first non-league win on Saturday with a tournament matchup with Long Beach Poly. Castaic will also head into tournament action on Tuesday with a game against El Camino.