Hubbard dominates Poland in soccer match
By BOB ETTINGER
A scorer keeps taking his shots. Hubbard striker Anthony Gagliardi lived up to that billing in the truest sense on Tuesday in leading Hubbard past Poland, 5-1, in Northeast Eight action at Alumni Field.
Gagliardi scored a hat trick as the Eagles (15-0, 11-0) set the school record in wins.
“I just keep shooting,” Gagliardi said. “Luckily, they went in for me. My teammates gave me the space and I was able to use it.”
The Eagles were 14-1-2 in 2001.
Hubbard already had clinched the league crown.
“I feel really good for the guys,” coach Cory Reinard said. “It’s a relief [to win the league and set the wins record]. It was all hard work, not just for one year, but years and years going back to when they played travel.
“It’s been one of the goals for them. To see it come to fruition is great.”
Poland (6-6-3, 4-3-2) started well with a goal in the fourth minute and had the Eagles on their heels for the first 25 minutes.
“We’ve been stressing trying to start fast,” Poland coach Brian Garcar said. “We’ve been caught in some games coming out of the gate on our heels.
“Against a good team that’s well-coached and organized, we were trying to set the tone early, set the pace. That first goal helped our confidence.”
Jake Bacon scored with 36:14 remaining in the first half to put the Bulldogs up, 1-0.
About 20 minutes later, the Eagles finally found their footing behind a goal from Gagliardi from about 30 yards out with 15:03 to play in the half.
“I noticed they were giving me a little space,” Gagliardi said. “I looked up and the goalie was a bit far to the near post so I tried to curve it in.”
Hubbard grabbed the momentum and didn’t let go with a goal from A.J. Trobek off an assist from Michael VanSuch with 9:36 to go in the half.
Gagliardi put an exclamation point on the half after taking a pass from Trobek that had rolled across the face of the goal and found Gagliardi’s foot with 3:31 left.
“I got the ball off the corner, we went short, and somehow it came back to me,” Gagliardi said. “I crossed it to a teammate and he was able to get it back across to me.
“When it came through all those people, I thought, ‘Don’t mess this up.’ Once we got the second goal, we were comfortable in the game,” Gagliardi said. “We moved the ball a lot better and trusted each other.”
Reinard said, “When we’re having fun, things like that are falling for us. They find the gaps and lanes and score crazy goals.”
It didn’t take long for Gagliardi to find the back of the net one more time with a shot that curved into the net from about 25 yards away in the third minute of the second half.
“As soon as the ball left his foot, my assistant said, ‘It’s in,’” Reinard said. “Again, that was our guys being aware of the goalkeeper’s position, the position of the defense and the space in front of them. Our guys have a great understanding of the game.”
VanSuch closed the scoring with a tally after taking the ball away from the Poland goalkeeper with 11 seconds remaining in the contest.