Kickers hang tough with out-of-state competitionThe highlight of the week for the Raider soccer team was playing in the Gateway City Soccer Classic. ESPN has reported that it is the “premier boy’s high school soccer tournament in the country,” and was it ever, said Coach Scott Masini.
The highlight of the week for the Raider soccer team was playing in the Gateway City Soccer Classic. ESPN has reported that it is the “premier boy’s high school soccer tournament in the country,” and was it ever, said Coach Scott Masini.
There wasn’t a weak team out of the 29 that played in Collinsville, Ill. over the weekend, and Hudson won a game and lost two – one by a single goal, and one by a larger margin. Right off the bat, Hudson had the opportunity to play the host school, Quincy (Ill.) Senior High School.
“The first 40 minutes we played really well. I was pleasantly surprised out of the gate,” Masini said. “We arrived at 3 a.m. so the boys were tired after a nine-hour bus ride, but we opened like we meant business.”
In the first half, Hudson had four quality scoring chances. “Our defense did a great job limiting the scoring opportunities for Quincy, as we sat back, defended and countered effectively,” Masini said.
In the 30th minute, Lars Bichrt found Mackenzie Lund with a pass and it was 1-0. Quincy increased the pressure ten-fold in the second half, Masini said, and in the 42nd minute found the equalizer.
“We had some dead legs in the second half, but found a way to hold them off,” Masini said, and the score was knotted at the end of regulation. The game went to penalty kicks, and after Quincy opened the scoring, Bichrt and Nick Lund put the Raiders up 2-1, with Nathan Sauceman making a huge save in-between. After three consecutive misses by Quincy, David Moser finished the scoring, sending Hudson to the semi-finals.
“We came down here to face nationally ranked teams and that is what we got in the semi-finals,” Masini said. “Playing the No. 1 team in the state of Kansas, St. Thomas Aquinas, we were excited, and knew we’d have limited opportunities to score. So, we had to capitalize when we had them in hand.”
Hudson started the game moving the ball well and even had an opportunity to score in the first half. However, Aquinas used their strength on a corner kick to knock in a header and take a 1-0 lead.
“The boys were disappointed and got down on themselves, we were playing well and we felt we had lost the game on that play,” Masini said. “St. Thomas came right back down the field to make it 2-0, and then it was 3-0 before we knew it.”
In the second half, the Raiders had a few more chances to score but couldn’t convert.
The St. Thomas coach expressed his views to the Raider parents after the game saying, “We played about as well as we have for a few years in the semi-finals against Hudson.” The game ended 4-0, but St. Thomas went on to win the tourney, beating an undefeated team from Missouri in the championship.
In the third-place game, Hudson faced a strong school out of Lexington, Kentucky, in Dunbar High School. “We played some inspired soccer in our final game, the guys wanted to leave on a high note,” Masini said.
After Hudson gave up two penalty kicks in the first half, one of which was converted, the Raiders were in a 2-0 hole at halftime. “We wanted to blame the refs and everything else instead of looking at ourselves,” Masini said.
In the second half, Hudson bounced back when David Nettleton broke in on goal and was taken down by a defender. As a result, Bichrt scored on the penalty making it 2-1.
Then John Tjornehoj beat three defenders and passed the ball right across the goal mouth for Brady Wegscheid, but the Dunbar goalie made a tremendous save. Hudson kept up the pressure, but again couldn’t convert, so they ended up losing 2-1.
“All in all it was a great experience. We played great competition, teams that we don’t normally see, and styles of play that we don’t normally see up here, so it was a great learning experience,” Masini said. “Now we are in the stretch run, playing Eau Claire North at home on Tuesday, and Chippewa Falls on the road on Thursday.” Hudson is 13-5-3 overall and 7-1-1 in Big Rivers Conference.