by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Cuyahoga Falls -- Last year, the Hudson girls volleyball team needed 11 matches to get its first win of the season.
While the Lady Explorers wished it would have happened sooner, they will take their first victory of 2016 in match No. 3.
Hudson earned a 27-25, 25-9, 26-24 win over Suburban League National Conference rival Cuyahoga Falls Sept. 6 on the road.
With the victory, the Lady Explorers improved to 1-2 overall and 1-2 in the National Conference. The Lady Black Tigers fell to 4-4 overall and 0-2 in the National Conference.
It wasn't a work of art for Hudson, but the task was completed despite not having senior outside hitter Emily Warfield, who was out with a knee injury. First-year Lady Explorers head coach Brad Disandis said Warfield could be out for six weeks.
"We made things interesting," he said. "I have a lot of respect for what [Falls head coach] Josh [Stewart] does. He does a great job. You know nothing is easy when you play his team."
It certainly wasn't in two of the three sets.
Unfortunately, the Lady Black Tigers couldn't close the deal.
Falls had two set points in the first and third sets, respectively. But the Lady Black Tigers didn't put Hudson away.
"We had chances in game three," Stewart said. "A couple of calls and a couple of bounces didn't go our way. We've got to earn our own points. We have to have that personality like we're in the regionals where we can't make a mistake."
Lady Explorers' senior hitter Alena Madar, on the other hand, was flawless down the stretch.
Trailing 24-22, Madar had back-to-back kills to tie it up. Madar then added a block to give Hudson match point (25-24) and then put it away with a kill into the deep left corner of the court.
"Alena really stepped up and delivered what she's capable of doing," Disandis said. "This was a signature effort for her and it will help us down the road moving forward. We need her to demand the ball and want the ball in those situations."
Madar finished with 11 kills and 11 blocks for the Lady Explorers and junior outside hitter Dani Turner had a match-high 13 kills for Hudson.
Turner did most of her damage in the second set as the Lady Explorers jumped out to a 10-2 lead and didn't look back.
"Dani was huge," Disandis said. "She was much more consistent and had better swings and better control. When she puts balls away, she opens things up for everyone else."
Sophomore middle hitter Regina Alvarez contributed 11 blocks for Hudson and junior setter Lorenza Chiarappa had a match-high 29 assists for the Lady Explorers.
Hudson's top back-row player was sophomore libero Kendall Mackay, who finished with a match-high 25 digs.
"Kendall did a great job," Disandis said. "She hit a lot of balls to a lot of different angles. I thought [junior defensive specialist] Nina [Disandis] served well and passed well. She just came back [Sept. 6] from a hand injury."
Junior defensive specialist Madeline Gaeta served the last three points of the match and added 11 digs for the Lady Explorers.
Senior Emma Freeman finished with six kills to lead Falls and junior Rebecca Postlewaite had 11 assists for the Lady Black Tigers.
Sophomore Morgan Frame led Falls' back row with 10 digs and Emina Celic contributed four blocks for the Lady Black Tigers, who earned a 25-21, 16-25, 25-19 win in the junior varsity match.