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Hart girls soccer playing for first CIF championship since 1999

Posted: March 7, 2014 10:56 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2014 10:56 p.m.
The Hart High girls soccer team practices on Friday at Hart High, one day before their CIF title game. The Hart High girls soccer team practices on Friday at Hart High, one day before their CIF title game.
The Hart High girls soccer team practices on Friday at Hart High, one day before their CIF title game.

When the Hart Indians girls soccer team last won a CIF-Southern Section championship, freshman goalkeeper Nicole Davis was still months from being born.

Saturday afternoon, on the field of Corona High School, Davis will step up to the goal line looking to win Hart’s first title since 1999.

The Indians take on Chino Hills at 2:30 p.m. in the CIF-Southern Section Division II title game.

“It’s a huge deal,” Davis said. “I look at it as it could possibly be the most important game I play in my soccer career.”

It’s a similar story up and down the Hart roster. Athletes poised to write the next chapter in a Hart championship history that has been nonexistent during most of their lifetimes.

The Indians were co-champions with Woodbridge High in 1999, and finished as runners-up in 1997 after a 3-1 loss to Los Alamitos.

Since then, the Indians had not advanced past the semifinal stage until Tuesday’s victory.

Entering today’s match with Chino Hills, the Indians have gone 223 minutes without allowing a goal, and have allowed just one throughout the postseason.

Hart defeated Ventura 2-0 in the first round, Chaparral 2-1 in the second round, knocked out No. 1 seeded Sunny Hills 0-0 (5-4 PKs) and advanced to today’s championship match with a 1-0 victory over West Torrance.

“We have come in with a lot of confidence, not cockiness,” said defender Brooke MacArthur. “None of us have this thinking that we’re the top dog and it will come in easy. We understand the team is working hard. It’s a good game and it’s going to be a good battle. We respect everyone on the field, but we also know we’ve got this. Play our game like we’re supposed to and only good things can come out of it”.

Tuesday’s victory over West Torrance was Hart’s 12th shutout of the season, and their fifth in the last eight games.

But while the buck stops with Davis, she’s far from the only reason the Indians have been so resilient on defense.

A backline of Laura Sega, Brooke MacArthur, Kelsey Stokes and Rachel Bennett will be counted on once again against Chino Hills, the team that knocked Hart out of the postseason last year in the second round.

The Chino Hills Huskies are 27-2 on the season, and are led by speedy forwards Amanda Ball and Ashley Gonzalez. Hart enters at 18-5-4.

“For us, we’re well aware that their forwards are very good, very fast, and they like to play balls behind the defensive line,” MacArthur said. “We’re looking for not being too far up and being smart; dropping back and looking for signals when they’re going to send the ball up.”

Against West, that backline was resilient, holding its place, reacting quickly and taking much of the pressure off the young Davis.

In the midfield, All CIF-SS Division II player Sophie Cortes continues to hold things down. And along with teammates Danielle Spickard, Anna Sarno, Sara Lindborg and Laura Flores, Hart is able to take chances in pushing forward to create scoring opportunities.

And when those midfielders look ahead to the attacking third, what they see usually puts fear into the eyes of opponents.

Destinney Duron awaits, and now, Chavez does too.

The duo have long been close friends. And despite Chavez missing nine games before returning midway through the first half Tuesday, Duron and Chavez appear to have not lost a beat.

“It would absolutely mean the world to me (to win a title),” Chavez said. “Even before high school, all I wanted to do was win league and win CIF. This has been the reason for my main career in soccer.”

It’s been a long time since Hart girls soccer added another chapter to their championship book.

They expect there will be plenty to write about after this afternoon.

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