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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

After an Early Fall, Hart Girls Rise to Lead Foothill Standings

January 12, 2000|CHRIS SHAFFER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VALENCIA — Hart High's season has been as volatile as the stock market, but unlike the market the Indians saw some stability Tuesday, defeating Valencia, 2-1, in a Foothill League game.

After opening the season with a two-game winning streak, including a 5-1 victory over a good Crescenta Valley team, the Indians (6-5, 3-0 in league play) lost five of six.

Their three-game winning streak puts them alone in first place in what is expected to be tight league Foothill League race.

Hart, Valencia and Canyon could all challenge for the title that should come down to the final game of the season.

"The girls are in good spirits," said Coach Costa Nicolaou of Hart. "Their confidence is starting to come back. We are starting to find our rhythm now, but we can't get cocky and complacent.

"We are switching play well and moving the ball around the way the girls are capable. We are getting up there again. We started the season off winning two games and we were playing really well, but then we lost a few games."

Hart's talented offensive bunch took 24 shots but Valencia (11-3-2, 0-1-1) kept the Indians from taking the shots they wanted.

Eleven of the shots came from outside the goal box and six others were headers on corner kicks.

"We wanted to get them to play low percentage balls," said Coach Tony Scalercio of Valencia. "We wanted to keep them off balance. Hart is a very, very talented team. I was pleased with a 2-1 result and we are going to build on that.

"My girls were extremely nervous and they played a little apprehensive because of it. We gave them a little too much respect. I think its because we are so young."

Hart tied the game just before halftime when Katie Wirthlin's shot from 10 yards hit a defender and bounced to Shelly Durando, who knocked in the deflection past goalkeeper Jaisa Creps. Creps had six saves.

Durando has just replaced Christine Marbach, who was forced to leave because of blood on her knee.

"There are a bunch of girls who can step up and do the job on this team," Nicolaou said.

Ebony Lewis headed in a cross from Deedee Sanguinetti for the winning goal in the 54th minute.

"The key to winning the game was getting the ball behind their defense," Nicolaou said. "To be honest, I'd seen them play once before and I knew if we played our game and didn't make any silly mistakes we'd be OK.I think we deserved to win the game."

Valencia scored in the 14th minute when Devin McLean's flip throw in was headed in by Ashlee Emerson on the Vikings' first shot, the eighth time the Vikings have scored on the flip throw this season.

"They use the throw-in to their advantage," Nicolaou said. "It might have been the best thing for us. It woke us up."

Ali Pavoni of Hart hit the left post in the 52nd minute.

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