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They may meet again for much higher stakes down the road.
And their most recent matchup was simply a regular-season contest with not much stock in it.
Nonetheless, the matchup between the Lady Explorers and the Lady Cardinals had every bit of a feel as a state championship showdown.
This time, the Hudson field hockey team had the final say.
The host Lady Explorers earned a tense 1-0 victory over reigning state champion Thomas Worthington Oct. 8 at Scott Malson Field.
With the win, Hudson improved to 9-3-1. The Lady Cardinals, who scored all of their goals in the second half en route to a 3-0 win over the Lady Explorers in last year's state title match, dropped to 10-3.
Hudson scored the lone goal with 16 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the match.
Madison Valko had a 25-yard hit go off the pad of Thomas Worthington goalie Isabelle Perese.
Sarah Keller was in the right place at the right time and was able to put the ball in the goal on a rebound.
The Lady Explorers then got a critical defensive save by Sofia Hess, who blocked a hard shot by Lady Cardinals' standout Sarah Charley with her shoulder in front of Hudson's goal.
Both teams got deep in each other's territories on a number of occasions, but other than Keller's goal, both teams' defenses stopped anything and everything that was thrown at them.
Both goalies had busy days against an onslaught of shots.
Lady Explorers' goalie Kelsey Lowman made 16 saves and Perese had 15 saves. Many of those stops were acrobatic saves on shots from point-blank range.
Thomas Worthington had a 10-8 edge in penalty corners, including one that was denied by Hudson with approximately two minutes left in the match. Both teams finished with 16 shots on goal.