by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Stow -- Chris Tipton said during the preseason that his young team would go through both tough times and great times in the fall.
Unfortunately for the Stow-Munroe Falls head coach and his Lady Bulldogs, they had a very tough time with their Northeast Ohio Conference neighbor to the north.
Hudson erupted for three goals early in the second half to blow open the game Aug. 28 at Bulldog Stadium, leading to a 6-1 win for the Lady Explorers.
Hudson improved to 3-0 on the season, while Stow fell to 1-2.
Lady Explorers head coach Costa Kalorides lauded his team for its ability to adjust during the game.
"You've got to give the girls credit," he said. "Playing in as condensed a space as they had, they were able to figure it out and score. They made some nice penetrating passes. I think we have a good mix of technical ability and speed."
While acknowledging Hudson's prowess, Tipton said his team was its own worst enemy.
"If something could go wrong in the way of soccer, we did it, especially in the second half," Tipton said. "Our first touch was horrendous. Our decision-making, while improved from the first half, could be better. You simply can't make that many mistakes against a team like Hudson.'
Playing without senior starters Kelsey Fobean and Tiffany Keller, Stow found its penalty box under assault from the opening minutes.
The Lady Explorers finished with a 12-4 edge in shots on goal and dominated possession for the entire game.
However, the Lady Bulldogs were able to keep Hudson at bay by keeping their defensive line high early. The Lady Explorers were called for offsides 11 times in the game.
The offsides calls and some nice saves from Lady Bulldogs' goalkeeper Aly Green kept Hudson off the scoreboard until the 23rd minute. Green finished with five saves on the night.
Senior captain Kate Waters sent a through ball down the left sideline, which sophomore Erin Torrence latched on to and ran past the Stow defense. Torrence went low with her shot to make it 1-0.
The Lady Bulldogs attempted to respond, but Stow had problems maintaining possession all night. When the Lady Bulldogs got the ball up to forward Ashley Pryce, she often found herself double marked or fouled.
The Lady Explorers doubled their lead in 38th minute, thanks to another long run from Torrence. This time, Torrence sprinted to the end line and centered the ball in the six-yard box.
Margo Camp set herself and smashed the pass into the net, making it 2-0 at halftime.
However, the floodgates opened on Stow early in the second half.
In the 44th minute, a through ball from Hudson's Alyssa Pamer set forward Alex Wright loose, allowing her to go one-on-one with Green and blast it home.
In the 45th minute, speedy freshman Kim Ito sprinted past the Lady Bulldogs' defense and put her shot home.
In the 46th minute, Wright struck again, making it 5-0 and putting the game out of reach.
"When you play a team like Stow that you know is going to play hard the entire game, you've got to be able put them away or they will come back on you," Kalorides said. "Not only did our girls adjust, but they put Stow away early in that second half."
"We have to play the way Stow girls high school soccer is capable of playing," Tipton said. "In the second half, I'm really not sure who was out there."
Ito completed the rout in the 57th minute when she won a foot race with Green to the ball and smashed it into the open net.
The Lady Bulldogs prevented the shutout in the 75th minute when Pryce was able to get behind Hudson's defense and smash it home. However, the goal came with many of Hudson's starters on the bench.
The Lady Explorers were scheduled to host Massillon Jackson Aug. 31. Results weren't available at press time.
Hudson is set to visit NOC rival Twinsburg Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.