HHS Boys Soccer Season Recap

HHS Boys Soccer Season Recap

Mikey VanSuch, Assistant Editor

The 2018-19 season was one of the most successful ever for all of Hubbard ‘s fall sports.  With success shared generously this year, one team stood out above all others: The Hubbard Boys Soccer Team, which finished their strongest season in school history.  This team stands strongly above all preceding HHS soccer teams, capturing the school record by finishing the season with an overall of 19-1-1. Almost every school record for offense, defense, and goalkeeping was also surpassed.  

Senior goalkeeper Dominic Colella is still amazed at the team’s achievements, saying, “We did things that no other team in HHS soccer school history has done before.  You look back at it, and everything fell perfectly into place. I was part of a team that made its city extremely proud and changed school history. I couldn’t have ended my senior season any better way.”  Yes, the Eagles had a remarkable record-breaking season, but that isn’t the reason why the city was ecstatic for its soccer team.

The Eagles were focused on one main goal from the beginning of the season: to win the district final.  No soccer team in Hubbard history has ever won a district final–and this was the main hope of every player, and every Hubbard soccer enthusiast.  The Eagles started the season off with some explosive wins, scoring 9 goals in their first three games while only conceding 1. The hot streak continued, and Hubbard strolled through their schedule, picking up victories against some of their biggest rivals, such as Lakeview, Poland, and Girard.  In the blink of an eye, the Eagles won 15 straight games, but ended the regular season in tough fashion. Hubbard tied Lakeview 1-1 to finish the regular season with a record of 15-0-1.

“That Lakeview game really messed with our minds,” says sophomore Anthony Gagliardi.  “I was crying alongside half the team after we tied; they ruined our perfect record. It hurt, but I feel like it helped us a lot, especially entering playoff season.  That tie gave us so much motivation, it lit a fire in our heads and our hearts, and we wanted to show no mercy going forward. We reminded ourselves to stay focused on the main goal, which was to win districts.”  Even with the tie, Hubbard was comfortably ranked first in the district and named Conference Champions. Playoff season was a nightmare for the Eagles in the past, but this team was different from the rest. These players were on a mission, and they weren’t going to let anyone or any team get in their way.

Hubbard’s first playoff game was against Girard, one of the team’s biggest rivals.  Coming off the Lakeview tie, the Eagles went for blood, annihilating the Indians 6-2.  For the Eagles, this game was a statement to the rest of the district: Don’t you dare doubt Hubbard, because you’re going to regret it!  Their next opponent was Canfield, and the Cardinals firmly believed this game was going to be a breeze. But the Eagles thought otherwise, sweeping the Cardinals with a 6-1 victory.  The next game was the district championship, and it was against Howland. At this point in the season, Hubbard had its biggest fanbase ever attending games, and the support was extremely beneficial for the team.  Howland was the best team Hubbard had faced yet, but that didn’t mean they were better. With confidence and support from the city, Hubbard believed they could win the district final. This was their season goal, their dream, all their hard work had brought them here.  Their entire season was dependent on this game.

Early in the game, Senior Mikey VanSuch scored one of the most beautiful goals of the season for Hubbard, giving them a 1-0 lead.  Sophomore Anthony Gagliardi also scored a strong goal, but Howland bounced back and scored after each goal, making the score 2-2. With only a few minutes left in the game, and both teams exhausted and deflated, Junior A.J. Trobek came up big with a remarkable finish, giving the Eagles a 3-2 lead.  The game would end that way, giving Hubbard the win for its first ever District Championship and first ever appearance in the Regional Semifinal.

The team’s goal had been accomplished, they had brought home the school’s first district title.  But the season wasn’t over, and everything after this was icing on the cake. The players wanted more, and they had the confidence to believe that they could go as far as to win the State Final, the mother of all pearls.  West Geauga was their next opponent, and Mikey VanSuch scored in the first five minutes of the game to give Hubbard a comfortable 1-0 lead. Jacob Gulu also scored late in the game, giving the Eagles a 2-0 victory and a trip to the Regional Final against Revere.  

The crowd was filled with blue shirts and hoodies; it looked like half the city had come to show their support.  The game was a constant back-and-forth battle. Anthony Gagliardi scored off a corner late in the first half, but Revere answered shortly after with a goal.  Revere scored a second goal early in the second half, and Hubbard couldn’t bounce back from it, eventually giving them a hard fought 2-1 loss in a game that could’ve gone either way.  The referee appeared to heavily favor Revere leaving many to argue that the game was unfair. But it didn’t matter, for the Eagles’ “Dream Team” had lost and their season was over.

Senior captain Mikey VanSuch stated, “Our loss to Revere might be the toughest loss I’ve ever had to deal with.  It’s not the fact that we lost, but it’s the feeling that we should’ve won and got robbed; it’s not fair. It should’ve been us playing in the State Semifinal, not them.  The referee was completely against us, and we still outplayed Revere; our season shouldn’t end this way. However, we can’t forget everything else we’ve achieved. This is the best team in school history, and we reached goals and set records that no other team could. I’m so proud of these guys, and I’ll never forget the memories I made with them.  I couldn’t have ended my senior season any better way.”

The Hubbard Eagles finished their season as Regional Finalists, District and Conference Champions.  They broke almost every school record, had several players win district awards, and made their city proud.  For all of those reasons, this team could be considered exceptional, and there may never be another team as phenomenal as the 2018-19 HHS Boys Soccer Dream Team.