Boys Soccer: Hubs fall in offensive battle against Belvidere

Sophomore Kevin Orozco dribbles the ball during the Rochelle Hub varsity soccer match against Belvidere on Saturday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Casillas nets three goals as Bucs edge Rochelle 7-5

BELVIDERE — Steady rain showers fell from start to finish as the Rochelle Hub varsity soccer team faced off against Belvidere in a high-scoring nonconference match Saturday morning.

Junior forward Alberto Casillas finished with three goals for the Hubs, who went back and forth with the Bucs throughout the match before Belvidere took a late lead on a pair of second-half goals. The Rochelle offense managed to answer the Bucs for most of the contest, but the late hole was too deep for a comeback rally from the Hubs, who ultimately conceded a 7-5 loss.

“We’ve been working well together on offense and we’ve been moving the ball,” head coach Brad Male said. “Our communication is picking up and that’s been a difference for us. It was unfortunate that we conceded two goals in the last few minutes, but I’m happy with where we’re at on offense and we’re looking for our team to keep communicating and moving the ball.”

Senior Diego Salazar and sophomore Kevin Orozco each scored goals for the Hubs (3-6-2, 1-3 Interstate 8), who took a 1-0 lead after Casillas converted a penalty kick during the ninth minute. Rochelle didn’t hold the advantage for long, as Belvidere capitalized on a series of through balls during the first half. The Bucs tied the match in the 14th minute before scoring goals in the 21st and 33rd minutes to command a 3-1 lead. Belvidere compiled a staggering 55 shots and 45 shots on goal in the match, but the Bucs drew 14 offside calls that stalled their momentum.

“Alberto’s an aggressive player and he puts himself in the right positions,” Male said. “He’s in there all of the time and I continue stressing for him to be aggressive and move to the ball. I think that if he can communicate with his teammates a little more, he’ll score even more.”

Casillas brought Belvidere within one goal near the end of the first half, sending a long shot into the air and into the back of the net during the 38th minute. Rochelle found an equalizer early in the second half, with Casillas assisting Orozco during the 51st minute to tie the score at 3-3. An immediate answer from the Bucs sparked a seesaw battle throughout the second half, with the Bucs scoring in the 52nd minute and Salazar answering for the Hubs during the 64th minute.

Both teams exchanged goals as the second half wound down, with the Bucs regaining the lead in the 68th minute and Casillas completing his hat trick for the Hubs during the 73rd minute. A controversial call resulted in a red card for sophomore goalkeeper Antonio Hueramo, who had 19 saves in the match, during the 76th minute. With Hueramo sidelined, Belvidere went on the attack, clinching the win with back-to-back unanswered goals in the 76th and 79th minutes.

“We’re dealing with a few injuries and we had a red card come from the match today,” Male said. “I think we’re a strong team when we’re healthy, but we’re having to move some players around right now and we have players who are adjusting to some different roles. Once we get those players back, I think we’ll be fine. Our communication is a big key for our defense and I think that when we play as a team, we’re a lot stronger. We just had a few miscommunications.”