Hat trick by Huels sends ‘Dogs to state title game

Waterloo’s Ben Huels knocked in all three Bulldog goals in a 3-1 win over Carmel in the IHSA Class 2A State Semifinals on Friday afternoon at Hoffman Estates.

Chase Rubemeyer, in white, and Trevor Copln, in green, both are able to stop a Carmel scoring chance early in the first half of the game. (Spencer Michelson photo)

“Getting that first goal is always key. I know they came back, but our guys didn’t panic,” Waterloo coach Chad Holden said. “They haven’t panicked all year and just came right back and scored another.”

All three goals by Huels were set up by great passes.

“They were perfect, perfect,” Huels said about the assists.

In the first five minutes of the game, Waterloo just missed a goal, hitting the post on a Huels kick. He wouldn’t miss on his next opportunity.

Sitting at about midfield, Chase Rubemeyer took to his duty of obliterating a free kick into the box. It was played perfectly toward the net, where Huels was able to get his head on the ball and get the first goal of the game, giving Waterloo a 1-0 lead with about 26 minutes to play in the half.

Waterloo goaltender Trevor Coplin had to make a few saves in the game, including stopping Carmel’s first good scoring chance by making a sliding save on a breakaway. But the Cosairs didn’t get to the state tournament by being a team that gets shut out.

Austin Ehrens β€” Carmel’s leading scorer with 30 goals this season β€” was able to tie the game with 13:45 to play in the first half. He ran down a nicely played ball down the middle of the field. Coplin ran out to get the ball but hesitated, and Ehren regained possession of the ball and scored.

But luckily, Carmel didn’t have Huels on its team — he was wearing black and orange. His second goal came with 4:40 to play in the half. Kane Osterhage won the ball down the sideline and pummeled it into the middle of the box, where Huels was waiting with his foot. A video of the goal can be seen by clicking here.

Waterloo went into halftime with a 2-1 advantage.

In the first minute of the second half, the ‘Dogs pounced. Huels, on yet another cross from Osterhage, completed his hat trick and gave the team a 3-1 lead.

“The first 10 minutes is key β€” at the beginning of the game and at the beginning of the half,” Holden said of the quick goal. “It’s gone against us, too, where we didn’t play as well. I think we learned from that and realized that first 10 minutes, if you can control that, it’s key.”

For the rest of the game, the strong Waterloo defense held onto the lead for the win.

Emotions got the best of Carmel’s Braco Lasso with just over eight minutes to play. On the attack, Carmel earned a free kick just outside the top of the Waterloo box. Waterloo’s Griffin Lenhardt argued the call with the referee. As Lenhardt was getting into position, Lasso pushed him out of the way, earning a yellow card for his efforts.

Huels and Osterhage have been the one-two punch for the team all season. This is their first year playing together in high school; Huels is a junior and Osterhage is a senior.

Kane Osterhage, in white, recorded two assists to Ben Huels in the game. (Spencer Michelson photo)

“It took a little bit getting used to, but then as the season has gone on, we’ve gotten better and better,” Osterhage said.

When Holden mentioned this is the first year the two have played together, Huels interrupted with a clarification.

“No, we played together when we were about 7,” Huels said, cutting off his coach and getting a laugh from the press.

Waterloo will face Peoria (Notre Dame) for the IHSA Class 2A State Championship at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Bulldogs have faced Peoria (Notre Dame) in the state tournament before, losing to them in 2004 and 2010.

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