By Jacob Bigley
“Everything just kind of blocks out and I know I have to do my job … I know I have to do whatever it takes to keep my team on top,” said Eden Hardy when reflecting on her third and final goal to complete her brilliant hat-trick performance against Monrovia High in the CIFSS Division 4 girls’ soccer playoffs.
The Arcadia Apaches started off to a slow start as the Monrovia Wildcats came out with a strong attacking offense. Monrovia had a couple promising opportunities to pressure Arcadia; however, their offense could not find the back of the net.
Eden Hardy’s first goal was set up in the 30th minute by her interception of a pass in Monrovia’s defensive territory and quickly finding herself in a one-on-one scenario against the Wildcat’s goalie, Ariana Robles. Eden struck the ball with her left foot, sending it off Roble’s outstretched fingers and into the right corner of the net.
Hardy explained, “In the first half I think we got more confidence; after the first goal the nerves went away because we had a goal in and that really helped us (calm down the nerves).”
Calmed down or energized, the Apaches came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, which Hardy credited to their “halftime talk.” She explained, “We really picked it up and pushed each other and I think that our captains the second half really did a great job of communicating and keeping the energy up.”
Hardy went on to score in the 68th and 76th minute. Her third and final goal, completing the hat-trick, truly showcased her speed and ability. Hardy received a pass at midfield and just turned on the jets, burning one Monrovia defender and the goalie for an easy left-footed score.
The 3-0 defeat against Monrovia High was a big one for Eden and the Apaches. “It feels amazing to beat Monrovia because we really wanted to prove a point that we are the regional powerhouse, we are the team to beat, and we are the best team around.”
Arcadia’s Coach Ryen Piszyk commented on Eden Hardy: “Can’t complain about how she plays, she is a beast. She really is … It’s just her work ethic, you watch her and she is literally all over the field. She is up, down, right, goes forward and can win it on defense … Eden’s got another gear; when she digs, there is really no one who is going to stop her.”
Arcadia will now face Royal High (Semi-Valley) this Thursday, who beat El Segundo in a 3-2 shootout.