Hubbard beats Niles during matchup of MacMillans
HUBBARD — A year ago Hubbard girl’s soccer coach Josh MacMillan felt there was no way to win a game when it came against his father, Scott MacMillan.
His thought process was, how do you feel good about beating your hero?
The last two years, he never had to fully process that feeling as his father had beat him the previous four times they had met up.
Well, after the Hubbard Eagles beat the Niles McKinley Red Dragons Monday night, 3-2 in Northeast-8 Conference play, Josh finally was able to process the feelings of essentially beating his hero.
“We talked about it before where it’s a weird feeling because I’m happy for the girls and I’m happy for the team, but for me personally, my dad is the one who got me into the game, it’s hard to feel good about beating your hero, your role model, your idol,” he said. “I’m more happy for my kids than anything.
“It’s definitely weird with me coaching here and coaching in general. The only reason I’m involved in soccer is because of him. Everything, the good, the bad, the tough, the easy, it all comes from him.”
Still when presented with the overall moment of winning this game, Josh was able to ponder what now.
“He’s going to let me come over for Thanksgiving, I think,” he joked.
His dad most likely will.
“I give my son all the kudos in the world,” Scott MacMillan said. “He’s a good coach. He’s probably better than I am. He’s going to have a great career. It was bound to happen sooner or later. You can’t win them all.”
For Hubbard (4-4-1, 4-2 NE-8), they’ve had a tough go of it the last couple of games, but they finally were able to play with a lead as Whitney Hendrix scored the first of her two goals less than 6 minutes into the game.
“We’ve given up so many early goals this year, I think to get one early ourselves as opposed to digging out of a hole and having the lead, I think the girls were just kind of like ‘Oh my God, that feels good,’ “ Josh MacMillan said. “It just gave them a sense of relief. It seemed like they played pretty free because of it.”
The Red Dragons (4-5, 4-3) responded nine minutes later (25:19) when Tierni McGuire got the ball past goalkeeper Bello Denno.
The 1-1 tie was short-lived as Hendrix’s second goal at the 22:34 mark gave the Eagles a lead they carried into halftime.
“All I know is that they beat us to about every ball and outplayed us,” Scott MacMillan said. “They wanted it more than we did tonight. No excuses. I coached here for six years before this. They work as hard as they can. They are the hardest working group you will find. They show up to every game to try and win it. We didn’t show up to win.”
Kenna Reinard’s goal at 32:06 mark in the second half made it 3-1. Josh MacMillan felt his team’s ball movement looked good as the Eagles seemed to be in control of the game.
“We really looked like what I thought was really good soccer,” he said. “Everyone was supporting each other. We were moving the ball. We didn’t have any selfish play at all. That’s probably the best team building we’ve had with the ball.”
Still, the Red Dragons made it interesting when Emily Burnham made what felt to be an impossible goal to cut it to 3-2 with 19:15 left to play.
“They always say a two-goal lead is always the hardest one to hold,” Josh MacMillan said. “The moment it was at two I was like I would really like to get another to go up by three. When we didn’t, I looked at (assistant coach) Harry (Reinard), and said, ‘This is going to be an interesting end.’
“One thing my dad’s kids do is play hard. He pushes them. Sean (Gerin), that whole coaching staff does. Being from Niles and all that kind of stuff, I knew it was going to be hard.”
The last couple of minutes Hubbard dropped Hendrix back and was essentially told to stay with Burnham because the Hubbard coaching staff knew that she would be the biggest threat.
“That was the big thing in the last two to three minutes, not giving her a chance to tie this game up,” Josh MacMillan said.
In the end, the Eagles continued to stifle the Red Dragons when it came to the 50-50 balls and as Scott MacMillan felt, Hubbard just wanted it more.
“We didn’t show up to win,” he said. “The other team outplayed us. The last couple of minutes we decided we wanted to play.”