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by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Hudson -- It simply was not the Hudson boys soccer team's night.
While the Explorers fell behind 3-0 at halftime, they had a golden chance to get back in the game early in the second half.
In the end, however, it was still 3-0 at the end of the game at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
Cleveland St. Ignatius (4-1-1) scored three goals in a six-minute span to take a commanding lead and then hung on, despite giving up a penalty kick and playing down a man for last 35 minutes of the game.
Needless to say, Hudson first-year head coach Kelsey Resnick was bemused after the game.
"We made some mistakes and we got punished," he said. "We had at least a 10-minute lapse in our mental toughness. You can't do that against a team like St. Ignatius."
Wildcats head coach Mike McLaughlin said the Explorers (2-3-1) made his team work for the victory.
"They're a good team," McLaughlin said. "Everybody is going to sustain a level of intensity for some time. We just needed to keep doing what we do: Keep the ball and look for runs."
St. Ignatius finished with an 11-3 edge in shots on goal, but the Wildcats' efforts were thwarted early by Hudson goalkeeper Charlie Sockol, who finished with eight saves on the night.
Oddly enough, it was a central defender that lit the fuse for St. Ignatius' offense.
After a corner kick was cleared, Wildcats' junior David Sisson collected the ball about 40 yards out from goal. Sisson charged through Hudson's defense and smashed the ball past Sockol to make it 1-0 in the 33rd minute.
The goal seemed to open the floodgates on the Explorers.
In the 37th minute, senior Chris Petro sent a through ball to JoeMack Leonardo and Leonardo went one on one with Sockol. The Hudson keeper got a piece of the shot, but not enough to keep it out of the net.
Then in the 39th minute, St. Ignatius pressed again.
Sockol made a great diving save to stop an initial shot, but Bobby Barsic pounced on the rebound and smashed it into the net.
Down 3-0 at halftime, the Explorers did their best to press early in the second half.
After Sisson was given a yellow card for a professional foul in the 43rd minute, Hudson got its chance to get back in it in the 45th minute.
Trevor Colazzo sprinted into the box, but was tackled from behind by the Wildcats' Matt Ivancic. The referee not only called for a penalty kick, but he gave the St. Ignatius captain a red card for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity. McLaughlin said the referee made the right call.
Hudson junior Jack Sullivan stepped up to take the penalty kick, but his shot bounced off the bottom of the crossbar. The Explorers were then called for offsides while trying to get the rebound.
"I have absolute belief in Jack Sullivan," Resnick said. "He'll be taking every penalty kick we have in the next two years we have him in the program."
Hudson had several other chances to score, but the Explorers hit the post once and sprayed several close shots wide.
"We have to make out chances count," Resnick said. "We were able to put ourselves in good positions [to score], which was good. We need to keep our shots on frame and test goalkeepers."
Hudson was set to host Normandy Sept. 7. Results weren't available at press time.
The Explorers are scheduled to open their Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division schedule Sept. 10 at Twinsburg. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.