by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson -- It all started with a 2-0 win over its nemesis.
Unfortunately for the Hudson field hockey team, it came to a heartbreaking end against that same nemesis.
The second-seeded Lady Explorers' stellar season came to a sudden conclusion.
They were upset by fifth-seeded Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in a Division I regional semifinal contest Oct. 22 at Scott Malson Field.
With the win, the Lady Blazers (12-7) advanced to a regional final title contest. Hathaway Brown has reached the state tournament 10 consecutive years. The Lady Explorers finished the season with a 13-3 record.
"Here we are again," said Hudson head coach Jen Haney, fighting through tears. "It went back and forth. We had our chances, but they [the Lady Blazers] snuck one in. Unfortunately, there is only one winner. It didn't work out for us."
Hudson earned a 2-0 win over Hathaway Brown earlier in the season. That was the start of a 12-game winning streak. The Lady Explorers allowed just one goal during that stretch.
This time, the Lady Blazers, who have ended Hudson's season a number of times during their impressive run, had the last laugh even though the Lady Explorers' had possession of the ball for a majority of the game.
Alexis Chauvette's goal with 8 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first half proved to be the difference. Elana Scott and Emily Fletcher were credited with the assists.
"Scoring has been an issue for us all season," said Hathaway Brown head coach Abby Taylor, who spent time with Hudson as a player and an assistant coach. "We're a young team. I think because we had the loss to Mags [Rocky River Magnificat] early in the season, people overlooked us. I think we figured we were going to win, but we didn't have enough skill. They finally woke up in the middle of the season."
Lady Blazers' goalkeeper Riley Whitmyer made 10 saves and got plenty of help from her defenders. Hudson had a knack for invading Hathaway Brown's circle, but the Lady Explorers struggled to unleash quality shots.
"Hudson has a phenomenal team," Taylor said. "[Seniors] Erin Hoover, Kiley Merrill and Maria Russell are fabulous players."
Although her team came up short, Haney, the Ohio School Athletic Association Division I Coach of the Year, didn't lose sight of what her players accomplished. Remember, Hudson lost two of its first three games before becoming one of the best teams in the state.
"I'm just proud of every kid in my program," Haney said. "We went through some adversity and they made leaps and bounds both mentally and physically."
Six seniors concluded their careers with the Lady Explorers. Three of them are planning to continue their field hockey careers on the collegiate level.
They are Merrill (Miami University in Oxford), Erin Hoover (The Ohio State University) and Maria Russell (Ohio University in Athens).
Other seniors include Krista Jones, Eliza Bashian and Jackie Ulmer.
"I hurt for these kids," Haney said. "They put their hearts and souls in it and they had a great season."