by Michael Leonard
Aurora -- Fans who braved the cold, wet night to see the Aurora and Hudson boys soccer teams clash at Veterans Stadium in Aurora were treated to a high-level contest between two talented teams.
Greenmen fans also were treated to one of the most remarkable endings in Aurora history.
With time expiring in the first overtime, Greenmen midfielder Trever Wendel launched a shot on goal from about 45 yards out.
The ball drifted over Hudson goalkeeper Charlie Sockol and into the net. The only question was weather it had crossed the line before time had expired.
After a few minutes, the referees confirmed the ball had crossed before time expired, giving Aurora a 2-1 win in its Division I district semifinal game over the Explorers Oct. 23. The Greenmen, which earned a 1-0 win over Hudson in the Kent 2012 district final, improved to 12-2-4. The Explorers finished the season at 10-5-3.
Aurora head coach Chris Gentille said it was an amazing goal. He also pointed out that his team had played very well prior to the score.
"I told the guys you need three things in the playoffs: A great goalkeeper, a ton of talent and a little luck," Gentille said. "We had all three. Give Hudson credit. They did a great job marking our forwards."
Explorers' first-year head coach Kelsey Resnick also gave credit to his players.
"I'm really proud of what the boys did [Oct. 22]," he said. "I felt Aurora was only dangerous on set pieces when they were on the attack."
Hudson finished with a final edge of 10-8 in shots on goal, but both teams' goalkeepers had excellent nights.
Sockol finished with six saves for the Explorers, while Aurora keeper Justin Pavlick finished with nine saves.
"Pavlick was phenomenal," Gentille said.
Aurora had control of most of the first half as it outshot Hudson 6-1.
However, the breakthrough didn't come until the 37th minute when the Greenmen earned their first corner kick of the game.
Prayag Jina served a beautiful ball to the back post. There, senior defender Anthony Brockway crashed the net and headed the ball in.
Aurora took a 1-0 lead to halftime, but a moment of "oops," as Gentille called it, tied the game less than a minute after half.
The Greenmen's defense sent a back pass to goal, which Pavlick wasn't ready for. The ball rolled all the way into the net for an own goal, tying it at 1-1 in the 41st minute.
Hudson played a much better game after the own goal, outshooting the Greenmen 9-2 in the second half and overtime.
However, Pavlick made numerous diving saves to set the stage for Wendel's heroics.
"It's really a big shame that we couldn't go farther," Resnick said. "I thought we could have made a lot of noise."
Sockol and fellow seniors Ben Blechman, Ethan Cravener, Jacob Jesionek, Chris Koscho, Ryan Mahan, Dalton Rowell, Cody VanDoninck and Nick Woodward concluded their careers for the Explorers.