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by Michael Leonard
Hudson -- In some ways, the Hudson girls soccer team's win over Brecksville-Broadview Heights Oct. 12 was emblematic of the Lady Explorers' season.
Hudson played well for long stretches, but was inconsistent.
On this night, that was enough to get a 2-1 win over the Lady Bees at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
Hudson improved to 8-5-2 on the season and finished at 4-1-2 in the Suburban League National Conference. Brecksville dropped to 6-7-2 overall and 2-3-2 in the National Conference.
Lady Explorers' first-year head coach Chris Gentille was generally pleased with his team's effort.
"I thought we defended well for the most part," he said. "Our defense has been playing pretty well recently. I thought we were able to get back and shut them down. We scored a goal on a corner kick, which is a rare thing for us."
In fact, all three goals in the contest came via set pieces. While it was Senior Night for Hudson, junior Elena Vuksta was the architect of both Lady Explorer goals.
In the fourth minute, Hudson earned a corner kick on the near side. Vuksta sent a curling ball into the box, which Jordan Manley found and lofted into the corner of the net to make it 1-0.
The Lady Explorers were in control throughout the first half, but could not find the net again. Vuksta and Manley each hit the post in the first half.
The Lady Bees were able to convert their only real scoring chance in the 35th minute.
A Brecksville corner kick eluded Hudson goalie Lily Morgan and came to Lady Bees' senior Natalie Lesesky. Lesesky's shot nearly was cleared off the line, but it trickled in to make it 1-1 at halftime.
Gentille noted that defending corner kicks is an area the Lady Explorers may need to shore up, nothing the fact Hudson had to defend 12 corner kicks was a major reason for its 3-1 loss against Columbus Bishop Watterson Oct. 8.
"Our defense fell asleep on that corner kick," Gentille said. "With the playoffs coming up, you can't afford to do that."
Just after halftime, the Lady Explorers retook the lead.
In the 45th minute, Hudson earned a free kick just outside the penalty box. Vuksta stepped up and launched a perfectly placed shot into the upper left corner of the net, making it 2-1.
"That was good goal," Gentille said. "You can't hit it much better than that."
Brecksville attempted to press the issue in the second half, but Morgan was not seriously tested for the rest of the evening.
The Lady Explorers finished with a 7-3 edge in shots on goal. Morgan had two saves on the night.
Hudson honored seniors Brooke Balash, Kim Sauers, Morgan Widdoes, Claire McIsaac and Rayna McLean before the game.
The Lady Explorers were set to close out the regular season Oct. 15 at home against Austintown-Fitch, but results weren't available at press time.
Hudson was given the No. 3 seed in the Division I Kent sectional-district tournament draw. As a result, the Lady Explorers are scheduled to host the Solon-Bainbridge Township Kenston winner Oct. 20. Game time is set for 7 p.m.