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Hosler blanks Bellmont in season debut

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GOAL: Sophomore Gabriolle Castillo scored the only goal of the game in the first overtime period as the Vikings defeated Bellmont 1–0 on Tuesday.
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CATCH: Senior goalkeeper Aidan Hosler breaks up a Bellmont centering attempt in the second overtime period of Huntington North’s 1–0 win on Tuesday.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

The Huntington North boys soccer team received an added boost on Tuesday, as senior goalkeeper Aidan Hosler returned to the Vikings’ lineup for the first time this season after recovering from a knee injury.

Hosler stood tall in net, helping his team to a 1–0 overtime win over Bellmont in a Northeast 8 Conference (NE8) contest.

The win boosted Huntington North’s season record to 6–3–1 and maintained their spotless NE8 record at 4–0.

Hosler faced his first good test in the eighth minute, as a Bellmont opportunity bounced around wildly near the goal line. However, Hosler somehow managed to keep the ball from crossing the line, leaping back to punch the ball away to keep the game at 0–0.

The teams exchanged opportunities throughout the rest of the half, but neither side could capitalize, sending the game to halftime scoreless.

After a slow start to the first half and a relatively even rest of the period, the Vikings came ready to play in the second half, dominating possession and scoring opportunities for the majority of the 40 minutes.

Though Huntington North generated eight quality scoring chances in the half, none found the back of the Bellmont net, sending the game to overtime still deadlocked at 0–0.

The Vikings finally broke through in the first overtime period, as sophomore Gabriolle Castillo buried a shot from the right side off a cross from sophomore Brady Henline to give Huntington North a 1–0 lead with 5:18 left in the first extra session.

“It was just a matter of time that somebody would put the ball in the back of the net,” head coach Steve Saddington said. “Fortunately, we did, and ironically it was just one time. We could have had several times that we could have found the net and it just didn’t work in our favor. We just wanted to keep challenging them. It was one of those games where things just didn’t quite work out perfectly, especially when it comes to finishing.”

Though the Vikes possessed the ball well the remainder of the first overtime period, they could not double their lead, sending the contest to double overtime with the scoreboard reading 1–0.

Castillo nearly buried another goal two minutes into the second extra session, but his chance was turned aside by the Braves’ keeper.

With time being on Huntington North’s side, the Vikings managed to maintain possession for the majority of the frame to ultimately escape with a 1–0 win.

Despite his team starting the game slowly, Saddington was pleased to see his players improve as the contest progressed.

“Fortunately, I think we picked up our quality and fortunately we eventually got better throughout the game,” Saddington said. “We were attacking pretty well and had some good opportunities, (but) just couldn’t find the net. … We, I think, have the technical skill to play above their level; it’s just do we have the will and the heart to do that. Collectively, I think we felt a sense of ‘we’re better than this, so let’s play better,’ and there was a little bit (of) sense of ‘we’re not satisfied with the fact that it’s tied.’ To their credit, they kept the scoreboard clean the whole game (in regulation time) even though I do feel like we had way more opportunities, but that’s the way soccer works sometimes.”

The Vikings were without their top offensive threat, senior Peyton Miller, who missed the game attending a funeral.

Saddington felt not having Miller, who leads the team with 10 goals this season, was obvious at times and believed the game would have had a different outcome had the star scorer been available.

Huntington North peppered Bellmont with 30 shots, including a team high six from Castillo. In all, eight different Vikings fired multiple shots.

Hosler turned aside four shots in the 94 minutes of action to pick up his first shutout of the season.

Huntington North will return to the field on Monday for another NE8 battle, this time an away duel at DeKalb. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.