by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson -- For a number of years during the mid-2000s, the Hudson and Massillon Jackson boys soccer teams always seemed to hook up in Division I district play.
During those days, the Polar Bears had the Explorers' number.
On Oct. 6, the two teams got reacquainted with each other at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
Sadly for Hudson, it looked like old times.
Jackson cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Explorers.
It was Hudson's first home defeat of the season.
With the loss, the Explorers' nine-game unbeaten streak came to an end. Hudson, which had won five straight games, dropped to 10-2-1 overall.
The Polar Bears improved to 8-3-3.
The good news was Hudson clinched its first Suburban League National Conference title Oct. 4.
The Explorers earned a 1-0 win over Wadsworth on the road. Hudson improved to 6-0 in the conference.
"Prior to the Wadsworth game, we hadn't played in a week," Explorers head coach Steve Knapp said.
"We had Wadsworth circled on our calendars and since they were so tense, tense, tense for Wadsworth, it drained them [Oct. 6]."
Jackson got on the board a little less than 14 minutes into the game when sophomore Andy Dragota found the net.
Dragota struck again on a turnover by Hudson less than eight minutes in the second half and senior Johnathan Paxos made it 3-0 on another Explorer turnover with 7:46 left.
The Polar Bears had a 7-0 edge in shots on goal. Both teams had four corner kicks.
"We're using this as a learning experience, which is not a terrible thing this time of year," Knapp said.
"They were a bit stronger and more skilled than us. It's good to play teams like this."
Against the Grizzlies, Ryan Sarkisian scored the lone goal off a corner kick from Alex Vuksta with 3 minutes, 52 seconds left in the game.
Wadsworth (8-3-1, 4-1-1) had a 7-6 advantage in shots on goal and Hudson had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
"It's really big for them," Knapp said. "One of our goals was to win the league and they did that."
The Explorers are scheduled to visit Brecksville-Broadview Heights in their National Conference finale Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.