HUBBARD — Hubbard fended off a late comeback effort from Ravenna on Saturday night to capture the section crown 2-1 and advance to next week’s district semifinals.
The Eagles came out with the intention of pushing the field high, but Ravenna had the same idea – so Hubbard had to adjust accordingly.
For the first 15 minutes of the first half, the Ravens controlled possession and the pace of the game, but the final 25 minutes were dominated by the Eagles.
“We really didn’t want to give them a moment on the ball,” said Hubbard head coach Cory Reinard. “Honestly, they came out with the same mentality. So for us, they came on the front foot. Credit to them, they put us on the backfoot right away. So for us it was an adjustment, it was trying to find the areas where we could find their weaknesses.”
Hubbard’s adjustments paid off when the Eagles broke through in the 29th minute.
Brayden Murray grabbed a loose ball after a Ravens miss, whistled the loose ball and shoved it past the Ravenna goalkeeper for an early 1-0 lead.
As a result of the adjustments, Hubbard had the better chances in the first half, firing six shots on goal from Ravenna’s four.
The second half was a lot more back and forth as the Ravens chased an equalizer.
Nevertheless, the Adler were able to extend their lead in the 63rd minute. Ravenna goaltender Diego Jasso mishandled a high ball in the 18-yard box and fouled an Eagles forward, resulting in a penalty for Hubbard. Kaleb Jackson calmly stepped in and found the back of the net in the top left corner.
Just two minutes later, Ravenna’s Mason Ward took a long lob through the middle of the field, sprinted through the Eagles’ backline and hit the near post.
“We were uncovered by our midfield” said Reinard. “I think we’ve become a little bit separated and that’s one of our strengths in trying to keep everyone intact. With a lot of rotation changes, we got separated and they quickly countered there.
With Ravenna now just a goal short and chasing an equalizer, Hubbard needed to hold his lead and end the game.
“(We) came in, got compact, stayed compact, stayed organized, communicated and then when we got the ball in the wide areas we tried to see if we could pull their defense and keep them stretched as much as possible.” said Reinard.
With the win, Hubbard advances to face No. 2 seed Painesville Harvey in the Division II Akron 2 district semifinals on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. Harvey defeated No. 20 seeded Madison 2-0 in his section finals on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a tough game” said Reinard. “We will definitely prepare. We saw that we had problems from the start, so we have to get better and focus on ourselves.”
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