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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Twinsburg -- They were ranked and were most likely facing their biggest test of the season to date.
Let's just the Lady Tigers passed with flying colors.
The Twinsburg girls soccer team earned a thrilling 2-1 victory over Northeast Ohio Conference rival Hudson Sept. 4 at Twinsburg Tiger Stadium.
The contest featured two state-ranked teams, according to the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association.
The Lady Tigers were ranked seventh in a recent Division I poll.
The Lady Explorers were ranked 12th.
With a win over a previously undefeated Hudson squad, it's safe to say Twinsburg is a legitimate powerhouse.
"It was a pretty good test for us," Lady Tigers head coach Chris Gentille said. "They're going to get better and we're going to get better. Hopefully, we'll see them again."
The loss was a bitter pill for the Lady Explorers to swallow. After all, Hudson (4-1) has had its way with its neighbors to the north over the years.
"I'll take the blame," Lady Explorers head coach Costa Kalorides said. "For whatever reason, we weren't ready to play and that's my fault. I allowed them to believe their own hype."
Twinsburg certainly lived up to the hype.
Although Hudson controlled the ball the majority of the game, the Lady Tigers made the most of their opportunities.
The Lady Explorers had an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal and a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.
But Hudson never adjusted to Twinsburg's slick turf.
The Lady Explorers had trouble keeping the ball at their feet when they tried to trap the ball and their passes to the open space had a tendency to roll a bit too far.
The Lady Tigers struck first when senior midfielder Nicki Krejci made a couple of nice moves to beat a defender before unleashing a shot into the lower far corner of the net.
"Nicki is a very good player," Gentille said. "With her on the attack, she opens things up for everyone else."
Hudson got the equalizer with 19:12 left in the game. Sophomore Erin Torrence made cross from out wide to sophomore Alexandra Wright in the middle of the field.
All Wright had was Twinsburg goalkeeper Lexi Cooke in front of her and Wright finished with a shot to the lower corner of the net.
That goal seemed to rejuvenate the Lady Explorers as they had numerous chances to take the lead during the next several minutes.
And then, just like that, the momentum did a 180-degree turn.
After the Lady Tigers' defense held off a number of barrages, sophomore midfielder/forward Megan King netted the game-winner for Twinsburg into a wide-open net with 8:01 remaining.
King got the ball after a previous shot was deflected.
"Hudson had us on the ropes," Gentille said. "Other than the two goals, we may have had only two other chances."
The Lady Explorers made a push down the stretch, but Twinsburg's defense, thanks to its ability to cut off passing lanes, answered every challenge.
Cooke finished with three crucial saves in the nets for the Lady Tigers.
"Hudson is playing a lot of sophomores, so they're going to be strong for the next few years," Gentille said. "We'll take the win, though."
The Lady Explorers were scheduled to host Kent Roosevelt Sept. 7 at Hudson Memorial Stadium. Results were not available at press time.
Hudson is set to make its NOC Valley Division debut against North Royalton Sept. 11 at Hudson Memorial Stadium. Play is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.