‘Huda, Huda, Huda’
Hat trick by sophomore carries Poland to win
POLAND — Listen closely when you’re at a Poland soccer match, and you’ll hear “Huda, Huda, Huda” quite a bit.
The Bulldogs are always calling out to the sophomore as Noah Huda helps move his team downfield, an underclassman who’s already making a name for himself on the pitch at Dave Pavlansky Field in Poland.
Saturday’s match against the visiting Hubbard Eagles provided Huda the opportunity to help Poland remain undefeated, and he recorded his second career hat trick in guiding the Bulldogs to a 3-0 victory over their Northeast-8 Conference foe.
“Tried to set the tone early,” Poland coach Brian Garcar said. “Noah Huda had a great finish about a minute and a half into the game, which got us off on the right foot.
“We thought we maybe played a little bit sloppy overall, but Hubbard did a lot of really good things defensively that frustrated us at different points throughout the game. And again, I’m not surprised because (Hubbard coach) Cory (Reinard) does a really good with that team.”
Huda’s goal at the 38:55 mark in the first half gave the Bulldogs early life.
“It gets us going when we get a goal in, and that’s for every team I think,” Huda said. “It just gets us more hyped up to score more.”
Despite the early score, Poland didn’t find the back of the net until the second half, thanks in part to some good defense from the Eagles. Huda struck again for his second goal with 28:35 in the second half, and capped off his hat trick with 15:26 left on a successful penalty kick.
Second-half tweaks allowed the Bulldogs to have more opportunities to score.
“We just had to clean up our sloppy play,” Huda said. “Then once we got more touches and played our feet more, we just got going and it opened things up more.”
Reinard credited the swift Bulldog offense.
“Poland’s quick, they counter press, and then they counter attack very well,” he said. “(Huda) moves, he moves a lot, so he moves defenses, and that’s very important for a player like that.
“It’s hard to contain a player who moves constantly and tries to move your defenders around, so that’s difficult.”
Garcar has seen Huda grow as a player over the past year and feels that he’s ready to be a bigger part of team.
“He’s a sophomore, but he certainly doesn’t play like a sophomore,” he said. “Last year we started him as a freshman because we knew he was capable of handling a lot of minutes.
“We asked him to take a little bit more responsibility this year, developing our attack, and he’s done a great job. Basically every game that we’ve played he’s factored in to some goals or scoring goals himself or getting guys involved.”
Huda enjoys being a big part of the Poland offense.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’m just glad that everyone looks up to me, and I look up to all of my other teammates too.
“We don’t argue or anything, we just communicate to get everything else done.”
Hubbard fell to 2-3-1 and Reinard sees things to clean up.
“We can’t lose the midfield, and that’s where we’re losing it,” he said. “We’re going to keep working. Nothing new to us that we haven’t known, but we’re going to go in and try and figure that part out.”
Meanwhile Poland advances to 5-0. Despite the hot start, Garcar still thinks that his team can improve.
“I think making adjustments to what teams do against us,” he said. “Hubbard made a few adjustments and were playing a specific way defensively.
“I thought we were maybe forcing certain passes that weren’t there. Our energy is always there, just sometimes finding the right ball at different points, and sometimes we just have to adjust on that part.”
Huda is happy with the win, but he, too, is looking forward.
“We take all of our wins, (but) we leave them behind,” he said. “We just think we’re 0-0, we just got to get another win, we just gotta keep going.”