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Hubbard boys soccer ready for second season

GIRARD — With tournament play right around the corner, the Hubbard Eagles soccer team has played around with tactical changes to improve its defense and get the offense stronger.

If Tuesday night at Arrowhead Stadium was any indication, then their 9-0 victory over the Girard Indians was a step in the right direction in Northeast-8 Conference play.

“We play with a front three,” Hubbard coach Cory Reinard said. “We did more so in the first half with the front three. We tried to get a lot of link-up play for them. We wanted them to play off of each other, so we could break the lines, which we were getting a little bit, but we were having trouble breaking that line and getting through there.

“The second half, we dropped one out a little lower and deeper so we were able to find those through balls up to the corners. For those guys, it’s the vision to see those gaps. We were able to find that spacing between the defenders.”

Those gaps and spacing opened up more in the second half after the Eagles (7-6, 6-4) had built out a 3-0 advantage with a goal from Jacob Gulu less than one minute into the contest and two goals from AJ Trobek at the 14:59 and 11:29 mark.

“First half, we kind of did play a little bit slower,” Reinard said. “Second half, we told the boys we have to amp it up. We made some tactical changes. We saw the spacing on the weak side and the places where you can attack a little bit more. We made some of the changes in the second half, and saw the results of it.”

The play led to Trobek nearly finishing with a double hat trick — five goals — and Gula pulling off a hat trick with three goals.

“We’ve been working a lot on our offense because we’ve been looking to create a lot of opportunities,” Trobek said. “I think what we’ve been working on has been showing off in the games because nine goals is a lot.”

It was a lot, but five goals are nothing new for the senior.

“I’ve had a few five-goal games this year,” Trobek said. “We just work on the ball movement like balance, cover, working together. I think we did that very well tonight.”

And for the sophomore Gulu, this was his second hat trick of the year after doing it last week against Southeast.

“We move the ball a lot and try to create as many chances as we can,” Gulu said. “I saw AJ and Alevro (Jordan) making runs, and I was able to set them up as well as creating space for myself.”

Even with the Hubbard Eagle scoring nine goals on 22 shots on goal, their defense was much more impressive holding the Indians (4-8, 2-7) to just one shot on goal.

“Defense has been a constant change for us,” Reinard said. “We’ve been trying to find the right formula in the back. We brought back a senior player, put him in the back the last couple of games. We have one who is a good tackler and a really good shot blocker. The one has a high soccer IQ and is able to see the whole field.

“Both if those guys as the center backs, play off each other, are able to provide more organization than what we’ve had in the past. We were able to be very condensed, which worked well today.”

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