Hart senior Briley Phelps has been on a tear this past week.
Phelps led the Hart Indians girls’ soccer team to victory over Oxnard in its home CIF Division 2 playoff opener on Wednesday and has now netted seven goals in her last two games.
Hart won the game 10-0, behind Phelps’ four goals with plenty of scoring coming from all around the Indians’ roster.
The Indians (12-3-4) controlled the game from the first whistle. Oxnard’s forwards touched the ball just twice in the first 12 minutes of the game.
Hart made accurate passes at midfield, while the Indian forwards worked past the Yellowjacket defense with ease.
Indians midfielder Ariana Salvador netted the first score of the day within the first two minutes. Salvador received a near-perfect pass from Macey Edmann and drilled the opening goal. Her sister, Adrielle Salvador, then scored the 2-0 goal on an assist from Alexis Ngyuyen. The sisters don’t both score in games very often, making Wednesday’s win more special.
“It was amazing, both of us getting a goal,” Ariana said. “It was so fun because usually we never get a goal in the same game, but having a goal in the same game was pretty cool. We’re both sisters and we both got to share the experience and celebrate together.”
Phelps registered the hat trick in the first half and scored the next three for Hart. Phelps took a rip on the ball from near midfield for the first goal. What was almost her second goal was saved by Oxnard goalkeeper Natalia Diaz but the deflection landed right back in Phelps’ lap before she fired in the follow-up.
Hart cleared the bench in the second half but the scoring didn’t stop. Senior Carissa Venturo sent a corner kick right into the middle of the pack, where Natalie Spivey was ready to make it 6-0. The substitution also gave valuable playing to both goalkeepers Laura Brennan and Sammy Robinson.
The Indian starters returned shortly after and put away the game promptly. Phelps netted her fourth score but gives all the credit to her team’s passing capabilities.
“I’ve gotten really great assists,” Phelps said. “They’ve been feeding me the ball in really good areas so I have to attribute that to my teammates. They’ve put me in great positions to score.”
Nguyen and Ariana each finished with two assists on the day while six other Indians were credited with assists.
The Indians showcased yet again how many options the team has. Phelps shined brightest on Wednesday but head coach Brett Croft knows plenty of his team is capable of having huge games for Hart.
“We have a lot of high-level players,” Croft said. “I could talk about each one for about 35 minutes, but Briley specifically. There are so many things I could say but I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl soccer player as competitive as her. So just the drive and the focus she has to be great and always be better. She’s the heart and soul of our group this year. When she goes, we follow.”
Hart will now advance in the bracket and head out to play Woodbridge (10-4-5) of Irvine. The team feels as good as you’d imagine a team would after a 10-0 playoff win.
The Indians have hit yet another stride and feel their unity has continued to grow throughout the season.
“We’re really close as a team, off the field, and then on the field just like the ball speaks for itself,” Ariana said. “We move it together. We all understand our roles and I think we all gel really well.”
Hart has shown it will play hard for 80 minutes no matter who is lined up against them, especially in the playoffs.
“We have to obviously come out and respect whoever we’re playing because they made it to where they are for a reason, as did we, but I feel like we’re finally finding our camaraderie,” Phelps said. “I’m really confident for us going forward.”
The Indians head to Irvine to take on Woodbridge on Friday with a time yet to be determined.