When it comes to girls' soccer at Canyon and Hart, familiarity doesn't breed contempt; it nurtures one-goal games and scoreless ties.
In the third meeting in a month, Canyon and Hart finished at 0-0 Thursday in a Foothill League match, splitting their season series, 1-1-1.
"The rivalry's a factor," said Hart Coach Oliver Germond, who substituted freely in search for someone with a scoring touch. "The girls have all known each other for a long time and everyone knows what to expect from everyone else.
"Both teams were kind of nervous. It was a big game and it was another tough one for me because we've only played well in spurts for the last few games."
For the first 70 minutes, Canyon (8-6-1, 5-2-1) controlled the ball for long stretches and moved swiftly from defense to offense, with stopper Karen Hammonds and sweeper Kristi Giordano sending ball after ball up to midfielders Mandy Kearns and Jamie Knott.
Kearns spent much of the match trying to set up striker Cristie Burnett, Canyon's best offensive threat. But with 17 goals in 14 games, Burnett was well known to Hart. And though she had several scoring chances, none severely tested Indians' goalie Kathleen Baldwin.
Hart (9-4-5, 5-2-2) used outside runs by midfielders Laura Qualls and Nancy James--the team's top scorers--to drive into Canyon territory. But until the last 10 minutes of the match, the Indians rarely threatened.
With time ticking down, Hart went on the attack, unleashing several strong shots and pinning the ball in the Canyon end. No goals were forthcoming though, and both teams walked off in disappointment at the final whistle.
"The teams are pretty even and I've played with most of the Canyon players," Qualls said. "I know how they move, how they play defense. But they also know me and I tend to be more confident against players I've never seen before. It's kind of frustrating because we know that if we'd played the whole game like we did at the end, we would have won."
Canyon Coach Michele Braceros was left equally unfulfilled by the game's result.
"It's a little frustrating to see my kids deserve to win and come out tied, but fatigue played a factor," said Braceros, whose team plays five times in six days this week to make up matches postponed by rain.
"We try not to think of what we've done or what's to come, but at a certain point it starts to wear on you."