Hart remains unbeaten in league, downs West Ranch, 2-0 

Hart captain Briley Phelps (25) goes for a shot on goal with Mackenzie Wiese (12) defending, in the first half of a Foothill League game at Fiscus Field at Hart High School in Newhall, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Hart defeated Castaic 5-0. Chris Torres/The Signal

 Hart Indians girls’ soccer continued its five-game unbeaten streak in league play after a 2-0 win over the visiting West Ranch Wildcats on Tuesday. 

The Indians (4-3-3, 3-0-1) were without head coach Brett Croft, who was serving a one-game suspension following a red card in the team’s previous match. 

“I am so extremely proud of how the girls performed today without me present,” Croft said. “They competed as a team, problem solved on their own and executed the game plan. I am so extremely thankful for not only great players on the field, but even better people off of the field.” 

The ball moved around quicker on the turf in a rainy game. West Ranch (4-4-1, 1-2-1) aimed to combat the explosive Indian attack with a 5-4-1 formation. 

Hart broke through the crowded defense a few times in the first half but struggled to find the back of the net. 

“I thought we had a great game plan and executed it flawlessly,” said Cats co-head coach Jared White. “We were content to sit back and defend, give Hart the ball, and look to counter quickly.” 

West Ranch held its own on defense before centerback Naliya Montebon took a shot in the ribs and exited the game. 

The Indians were nearing their first scoreless league game in over a year before the team capitalized on Montebon’s absence and made a play late in the game. San Diego-commit Alexis Nguyen fired a ball through the West Ranch defense with 15 minutes left in the game that found senior Briley Phelps inside the box. Phelps drilled the shot to take a 1-0 lead. 

Nguyen then got on the board less than four minutes later as junior Ariana Salvador worked the ball in the midfield and to Nguyen for the assist. 

West Ranch aimed to counter quickly and registered a handful of shots on target. However, the Hart backline and Indians’ goalkeeper Laura Brennan held the clean sheet for the third straight game. 

“I’m really proud of the girls and look forward to facing Hart again with more of our starters back from winter break,” White said. 

The Cats and Indians will meet again on Jan. 26 at West Ranch. For now, the Wildcats will look to bounce back against Golden Valley on Thursday. Hart will also head on the road Thursday for league matchup at Canyon. Both games are slated for 3:15 p.m. 

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