HUDSON — Working to salvage a win in the penalty kick shootout of a championship match late Saturday afternoon, members of the Hudson boys’ soccer team found enough energy to defend their home turf.
Junior Jake Hoppes calmly deposited his penalty kick into the left side of the net to secure Hudson’s 5-4 shootout victory after the Pirates finished regulation tied 1-1 with Decorah in the finals of the Hudson United Tournament.
“We had to stay positive and stay as a team,” said Alec Staebell, who led Hudson with three goals Saturday, upping his total to six through the season’s first four games. “He (Hoppes) just got up there and had no worries. He was not nervous, and put it in.”
Hudson coach Sue Rink was pleased by the manner in which her team regrouped to cap the day with championship hardware. Decorah tied the final when Willem Hawley-Bourcier converted a penalty kick after Hudson’s goalkeeper charged into a Vikings’ attacker inside the 18-yard box with 7 minutes, 50 seconds left in regulation.
In the penalty kick shootout, Decorah goalkeeper Peter Wilson made a diving save to his right to give the Vikings an early 1-0 lead. That advantage was surrendered by a pair of missed shots on frame and Hudson’s Caden Youngblut, Staebell, Travis Carolan, Payton Stuart and Hoppes scored on their attempts to complete the victory.
“Third game they’re gassed, just like the other team,” Rink said. “Their muscles are sore, but they’ve learned how to dig deep and play to the end.”
A Hudson team that returns several key pieces from last year’s state-qualifying run, jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the championship match when Staebell took a feed from Youngblut, made a move at the top of the 18 and fired the ball into the right side of the net.
Staebell scored on a penalty kick and beat an outside back for a goal during Hudson’s 2-0 win over Webster City that opened pool play, while Braden Grosse scored twice in a 2-0 Pirates win over Davenport Assumption. Grosse’s second goal came off a header from Payton Stuart’s well-placed free kick.
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“We got the rust out and started playing well as a team and connecting passes,” Staebell said. “Us seniors, we all have good chemistry with our underclassmen.”
Strengthening those connections will be key for the Pirates this season in their pursuit of a third trip to state over a four-year stretch.
“They had some pretty weak spots today, but when they did what they were doing at training, great things happen,” Rink said.
Decorah reached the final after defeating Waterloo West, 1-0, and losing to Webster City 1-0. Those three schools finished in a tie once West defeated Assumption in a penalty kick shootout. Decorah advanced to the final on criteria of having fewer yellow cards than West and a better goal differential than Webster City.
West’s goalkeeper Riley Sloyer came up with a big diving foot save to secure the penalty kick shootout win over Assumption. Edvin Rizvic, Senad Omeragic, Armin Dedic and Harun Trici were the Wahawks who made their PKs during the 4-3 victory.
Over half of West’s starters this season are underclassmen.
“We’re still trying to figure out tendencies, what kind of team we’re supposed to be, and who we are as a team and individually,” West coach Mike Penning said. “We knew coming in it was going to be a long process.
“I think we got better today. We created some chances there in that second game and it’s just going to take some time to learn how to finish those.”