ROCHELLE — Brayan and Josue Orozco combined for 42 goals and 25 assists for the Rochelle soccer team this past season, and the two brothers picked up where they left off when the Hubs hosted Hinckley-Big Rock on Monday to start their 2019 campaign.
With the junior Brayan on the left side and the sophomore Josue on the right, Rochelle took control of the match early in the first half, when Brayan hit a left-footed cross toward Josue, who deposited the ball into the H-BR net in the 14th minute and gave the Hubs a 1-0 lead. Josue finished the match with a team-high two goals, and Rochelle shut out the Royals 3-0 to begin the 2019 season with a 1-0 record.
“I’m pleased with how we played overall,” head coach Brad Male said. “We had some missed opportunities to score but it was good for the kids to get out there and release some of their nerves. We have some new players who earned a lot of playing time and we’ll see where we can go from here.”
Rochelle had beaten H-BR by a combined score of 24-2 over its previous four encounters with the Royals dating back to 2016. But the Hubs had their hands full throughout the first half, as the Royals used the wind and the long ball to keep the Rochelle defense on its toes. Despite three new starters including senior keeper Alexis Quintanilla, the Hubs never wavered on the back end, and they held their 1-0 lead at halftime.
“I thought we did an excellent job back there,” Male said. “We had a few miscommunications during the game but overall I’m very pleased with where they are right now.”
The Hubs created some distance from the Royals in the 42nd minute, when senior Max Torres found Josue Orozco on a long cross from the right sideline. Another left-footed boot from Orozco gave Rochelle the 2-0 advantage, and after a foul on Brayan Orozco inside the H-BR penalty area in the 67th minute, Torres cashed in the penalty kick and iced the victory. Torres, who suffered an ACL injury over the offseason, will be an integral part of the Rochelle offense.
“We need to communicate a little better up top,” Male said. “I think they’ll come along nicely as they play more together throughout the season. We’re going to keep an eye on Max and we want him to let us know how much he can play. It’s a long season and we don’t want anybody getting hurt right away. We’ll monitor him throughout the season and see where he’s at.”