Roosevelt girls’ soccer takes down Hart 

Hart High players follow a pass near the goal as it is blocked by Roosevelt High goal keeper Reylena Wilson (0) in the second half at Hart High on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Hart Indians girls’ soccer saw its tremendous season end on Wednesday.  

The Indians were dropped from the CIF Division 1 quarterfinals at home by the Roosevelt Mustangs in a game that quickly got away from Hart. 

Roosevelt won the match, 4-1, despite not scoring until midway through the second half. The scoring frenzy snowballed against the Indians, who just weren’t able to find another goal.  

Sophomore Ireland Churchill led the Mustangs with two goals on the day.  

Churchill tied up the game in less than a minute after Hart (20-3-2) finally broke through for a score.  

The Indians were threatening to score with the ball deep in the box. Mustangs goalkeeper Giulianna Vargas charged out in an attempt to stop the attack but just missed, leaving Hart junior Kylie O’Donnell with an easy strike to score.  

Churchill immediately answered and got the ball in the box after a quick push. Churchill was draped by defenders but still created just enough space to fire a shot into the bottom left corner of the net. 

Mustangs sophomore Delilah Woods then set up the second goal after she made a big run down the right sideline and fired in a cross into traffic. Junior Mia Goettsche also didn’t have a ton of space but found the back of the net. 

Suddenly Hart’s 1-0 lead flipped into a 2-1 deficit in a matter of minutes and the squad found itself down in a game for the first time in nearly two months. 

The Indians kept battling but Churchill couldn’t be stopped and gave the Mustangs (21-4-1) a comfort goal in the 68th minute. The Roosevelt striker was again surrounded by Hart defenders but made a nice tip over the defense and buried her second score. 

Hart went all in to score on a corner kick but Roosevelt’s clearout turned into a lightning-quick counter as Churchill made a big run down the field before dumping it off to senior Presley Coles for the final goal of the day. 

Hart coach Brett Croft knew it was a gamble to send the house on the corner kick but with the Indians down a goal, it was a low-risk, high-reward scenario. 

Both teams played well in the first half with no goals allowed. Both teams had possessed well and put together some attacks, but no one could break through the posts. 

“The first half was a grudge match,” Croft said. “They played a lot of air balls and long balls, so we were dealing with those. They were trying to figure us out, we were trying to figure them out.”  

Seniors Ariana Salvador and Natalie Mejia moved the ball exceptionally while Sophia Willis showed some strong effort, winning most of the 50/50 balls coming her way. 

Sophia Willis (28) of Hart steals the ball from Roosevelt High defender Morgan Bellamy (24) in the second half at Hart High on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal

“Talk about a senior who leads by example with her work every day and how she treats her teammates,” Croft said on his senior Willis. “A game like this is a game for Sophia. She loves to battle, she loves to bash, she loves to work. We knew she was going to give everything she had until the end and she did that.” 

Roosevelt hadn’t won a playoff game in four years before this season but now heads into the CIF semifinals. Hart, on the flipside, now has its nine-game playoff streak abruptly end. 

“(Roosevelt) deserved to win today, they were the better team,” Croft said. “But the score doesn’t reflect the game. I think it was a closer game than 4-1, but they completely deserved to win. They’re a great team and I’m sure they’re going to keep giving other teams problems.” 

Hart will now send off another star-studded senior class.  

Salvador will continue her play at Pepperdine as well as with the Filipino Senior National team. Mejia will also play Division 1 soccer at St. Mary’s, while midfielder Issa Magee heads to Biola. 

Seniors like Willis, Ayla Noble and Sami Robinson will also be some names to look out for in the college soccer world. 

Brooklyn Fuller (11) of Hart heads the ball away from a Roosevelt defender in the second half at Hart High on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal

“My four captains, Isa, Mejia, Ari and Ayla, they’ve been on varsity for four years,” Croft said. “Three league titles, CIF semifinal and state semifinal (in 2022), CIF final champion, CIF final champion (2023), then this year, quarterfinals of Division 1. The high school resumes of those four are really remarkable. And then to bring alongside them Sophia and Sami in between the posts, they’ve been tremendous. They’ve definitely set a legacy of what Hart has always upheld and now it’s the younger players’ job to learn from them as they move on. It’s going to be tough to lose them, not only from a playing standpoint, but from a leadership standpoint.” 

Hart will likely remain in Division 1 over the next few years as the program remains loaded with talented players with Croft laying out the blueprint. 

When it comes to contending for the Foothill League crown, a CIF championship or even a regional title, the Indians are likely not going anywhere. 

“I knew we could do this,” Croft said. “I genuinely felt like we could get back to the final. I think this team has the pieces to do that. I knew it was going to be tough with the pressure from last year. It’s just a new group. But I’m super thankful and blessed with the players that I have at Hart as players and people. I feel like this group came together like never before in the last couple of weeks, and it was just another great team that has come through Hart. I’m super thankful for them and I’m excited for next year to come back. You know us, we’ll be back.” 

Mia Rodriguez (19) of Hart passes from midfield against Roosevelt High in the second half at Hart High on Wednesday, 021424. Dan Watson/The Signal

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