Soccer heats up at right timeAs the final seconds ticked off the clock in last Thursday’s 1-0 Raider victory over Eau Claire Memorial, head coach Chuck Bublitz said it was a great moment for the Hudson team and the program.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
As the final seconds ticked off the clock in last Thursday’s 1-0 Raider victory over Eau Claire Memorial, head coach Chuck Bublitz said it was a great moment for the Hudson team and the program.
The win not only clinched a WIAA regional title for the eighth-seeded Raiders and sent them into this Thursday’s sectional semifinal at No. 4 Wausau East, but it ended the top-seed Old Abes three-year run at the WIAA State Tournament.
“An awesome win against a great team,” Bublitz said. “It was a game we fought for until the very end. The boys have worked hard and remained committed through a challenging season and the regional championship was a great reward for that.”
The Raiders had to win their last three games of the regular season to finish with a record of 8-11-0. They continued their hot play by defeating Marshfield, 2-0, in last Tuesday’s regional semifinal before upsetting Gig Rivers Conference champion Eau Claire Memorial in the regional final.
The Raiders have won five straight, outscoring their opponents 9-1 over that span, heading into this Thursday’s sectional semifinal.
The Raiders narrowly missed taking an early 1-0 lead at Memorial last Thursday when Micah Pederson’s chip shot volley sailed high. Alex Schnobrich finished off a series of great passes later in the first half for the only goal of the game.
“Rocky Harmon, Henry Brose and Alex Schnobrich combined wonderfully to turn Ben Klundt’s great through ball into a first rate goal,” Bublitz said. “We were under a lot of pressure, which is typical when playing Memorial. They continued to press the whole game. Our back four and goalkeeper Mitch Rosiejka held strong even as Memorial put them in a number of tough positions on set plays or with strong passes over the top of our defense.”
Memorial hit the crossbar with a shot in the final minute, but the Raider defense cleared the ball and Harmon dribbled out the final ten seconds at midfield.
Two nights earlier against Marshfield, Harmon and Brose scored second half goals to lift the Raiders to a 2-0 regional semifinal victory.
Bublitz said the Raiders remained patient even as Marshfield’s defense denied them opportunities in the first half.
“Earlier this season we might have become frustrated or started to press when our possession advantage and chances weren’t resulting in goals,” the coach said. “But in a show of how we’ve grown as a team, we kept pressing and playing the right way and were rewarded.”
Bublitz said Marshfield was extremely committed defensively and were dangerous on the counter attack, but the Raiders’ patience paid off with a pair of second half goals.
“Rocky Harmon scored an absolutely first class opening goal; a clinical finish that showed his class as a player,” Bublitz said. “Henry Brose’s strike was also top notch, taken with his left foot and tucked into the net.”
The Raiders will face Wausau East, who defeated River Falls 3-1, Thursday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. in Wausau. A win would send them to the sectional final Saturday, Oct. 22 in Chippewa Falls.