Nick Markette is always wary of the Gilbert boys soccer team, but on Friday night those fears were unfounded.
Hamilton took a 1-0 lead into the half and never let the Tigers make a run, pushing across two more goals for a 3-0 victory in the championship game of the Tempe Diablos Soccer Tournament at Tempe Sports Complex.
Both teams are perennially in the state title mix, and even though his team eventually cruised to the win, Markette, the Hamilton coach, didn't feel comfortable until the final whistle blew.
"They have a team plan and they do it better than anyone," Markette said. "We've gotten the better of them a couple times now, but you always feel like they can always get a couple in. You never completely relax playing against them. They do what they do very well."
Gilbert had a couple early chances that missed, and then Hamilton began to take control. Daniel Arrubla gave the Huskies (7-0) the lead by scoring on a penalty kick 10 minutes into the contest, and the score stayed that way into the half.
Hamilton kept the momentum when Tyler Patel chipped a Blas Minor pass off the side of his foot and into the goal for a 2-0 lead in the 58th minute. Gilbert's Charlie Dukes and Kahlin Gonzalez had decent chances to cut the deficit in half just two minutes later, but a header and a bicycle kick, respectively, missed the net.
Connor Follet put the finishing touches on the victory by scoring a goal with just minutes to go before the match ended.
"Even when we're a goal or two up, we're always looking for that third goal as insurance," Arrubla said.
Gilbert (7-1) lost its first match of the season after defeating Chandler in the semifinals to get here. Hamilton beat Corona del Sol to make the championship.
Many of the players from both sides play with or against each other in club soccer, so the teams are very familiar with one another and the match had an intense feel.
"I love when it's competitive," Arrubla said. "It's the best."