GIRLS SOCCER Poland ends drought vs. Eagles
The Bulldogs called it their biggest win of the season.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
POLAND -- Natalie Ludt was in middle school the last time the Poland High girls soccer team beat Hubbard.
Ludt helped shut down Hubbard senior Anna DeJulio, and Poland junior Brit Davis scored two goals as the Bulldogs handed the visiting Eagles their first loss, 2-0.
"It feels awesome," Ludt, one of nine Poland seniors, said. "I think our team really works well together. We communicate well and we pick each other up.
"This was a big win for us."
The Eagles won the only meeting last year, 1-0. Hubbard last lost to Poland in 1998.
Poland coach Jim Sutman said this was the biggest win of the season.
"So far," Sutman emphasized. "Hubbard had played some good out of town schools and they're always one of the best teams in the area. We prepared for them like they were the greatest team in history."
The two teams played even in the first half, but Sutman felt the Eagles were starting to fatigue.
He challenged his team at halftime to "turn it up a notch."
"They have some great players, but we felt like we matched up well one-on-one," Sutman said. "We felt like we could out-play them."
Davis scored the first goal with 19:05 left in the game when Poland senior Taryn Carlson crossed the ball toward the net and Hubbard keeper Lynle Cornell ventured out to grab it. But Cornell couldn't reach the ball in time and Davis took advantage, volleying the ball into the right corner of the net. One minute later, Hubbard's defense had a mix-up on a cross and Davis found herself 10 feet from a wide-open net.
"There was some confusion and the ball just squirted out," she said. "So I just kicked it in."
Davis was frustrated after a 9-0 win over Salem from not having many opportunities to score, Sutman said. "She wants to score on every play," Sutman said with a smile.
Does this make up for the Salem game?
"Definitely, but it's my team that creates the opportunities," Davis said. "They were just looking more toward me tonight."
Poland out-shot Hubbard 14-11. Landry Yankle had nine saves for the Bulldogs and Cornell had 10.
One year later
The Bulldogs went 14-2-1 last year, including 8-0 in the Metro Athletic Conference, but were upset by Canfield in a Division II regional semifinal. Poland lost five players from that team, but is 2-0 in the MAC so far this season and should again contend for the league title.
The Bulldogs could meet Hubbard (4-1) again in the tournament.
The Eagles won the Trumbull Athletic Conference last season and advanced to the regional semifinal before losing to West Geauga. Hubbard lost three starters to graduation, but have seven seniors, including last year's Vindicator player of the year, Brittany McKee. "Yeah, they're a good team," Ludt said. "But you know what? We're better."