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Unselfish Cobras just want to win

With three dangerous scorers, Hudson finally has an offense to complement its defense.

By LINDA ROTHSTEIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 13, 2001


HUDSON -- The reason Hudson has been so successful this year is simple: balance.

"Their object is to win and they don't really care who gets the glory," Hudson coach Ron Ladimir said of his players.

The Cobras have a front three to die for. Billy Boyko, Jarle Thy and Robert Pollock have scored more than 20 goals apiece.

But the most telling statistic is their assists. Each member of the trio has dished out more than 20 assists, which says a lot about how much they want to win. It doesn't matter who scores, just as long as someone does. In fact, in two of Hudson's last three games, it was the midfielder who stepped up and scored.

"We have a lot more balanced team this year than in the last couple years," Ladimir said. "We have more offensive pop than in the past. Our defense is still solid, the midfield's been solid, but we've never had the offensive presence that we could score three, four goals in every game."

The Cobras have also notched 11 shutouts, a statistic that reflects how well the backfield and the keeper work together. First-year goalkeeper Robby Mahler owns a 1.00 goals-against average. "They're just playing as a team," Ladimir said. "No one worries about doing anything special; they do their job. Everyone has a certain job to do on the field, and when they do that, then they're fine."

The last time Hudson (21-6-1) played its way into the regional semifinals was two years ago when it lost 2-1 to New Smyrna Beach. But in three appearances, the Cobras have never advanced any further. Tonight, the Cobras will play host to Rockledge (15-5-5) at 7:30 in the Class 2A, Region 2 semifinals.

"This is the hump game," Ladimir quipped.

Ladimir said he knows nothing about the team his Cobras will take on tonight. But as the District 6 champion, Rockledge is a heavy hitter with a lot of history on its side. The Raiders have made it to the regional semifinals the past four seasons and six of the past seven.

"I haven't gone too much out of my way to find out about Rockledge," Ladimir said. "Sometimes it's not that good to find too much out about another team, then you start worrying about certain things. I'm just worried about my guys being ready to play, and if they play their game, then we won't really have to worry too much."

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