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Not again! St. Ignatius ends boys' season

By FRANK ACETO Associate Sports Editor Published: May 28, 2017 12:00 AM
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HUDSON -- Year after year, the Hudson and Cleveland St. Ignatius boys lacrosse teams have had a knack for seeing each other deep in the postseason.

Pardon the Explorers if they're fed up with the Wildcats.

Second-seeded Hudson's season came to an end after losing to third-seeded St. Ignatius 12-4 in a Division I, Region 2 semifinal contest at Hudson Memorial Stadium.

The Wildcats (12-7), who lost to the Explorers 8-4 during the regular season, have eliminated Hudson in regional play three years in a row.

St. Ignatius won a majority of the face-offs, got the 50-50 balls, played stellar defense and converted just about every one of its opportunities.

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And most of those scoring opportunities came from long range.

The Explorers, on the other hand, had trouble finding any rhythm offensively and their defense was victimized by the Wildcats' lethal cast of shooters.

"When we played them the first time, I thought we played really well," longtime Hudson head coach David Blue said. "Some things went our way. They [the Wildcats] are a very athletic team. Once they got the lead, it was tough to battle back."

Trailing 2-1 midway through the first quarter, St. Ignatius took the lead for good with a pair of goals in a 42-second span.

Brent Chernosky scored both of those goals with powerful, bouncing shots from long range.

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Goals by Grayson Gerard and Connor Cmiel made it 5-2 early in the second.

Blake Lori cut the Explorers' deficit to 5-3 with 9 minutes, 30 seconds left in the half.

However, when Hudson (14-6) got close, the Wildcats seemed to turn it up a notch and take control in a contest that featured a heavy downpour early in the second half.

St. Ignatius responded with two unanswered goals and didn't look back the rest of the way.

"We didn't get the plays we needed to get," Blue said. "We wanted to force them to take outside shots. We thought we would gobble those up, but we didn't get that early in the game.

"I thought the biggest part of the game was we did not clear the ball and we missed ground balls. It was more about those things than not getting the saves. We had a game plan. We just didn't execute."

The Explorers, who were missing defenseman Danny Saxon because of a knee injury, had 26 turnovers and a plethora of shots go wide and over the goal.

Hudson outshot St. Ignatius 26-19, but the Wildcats didn't miss too many of their opportunities against Hudson goalies Stroud Corr and Matt Withem.

Chernosky and Nathan Conry each finished with three goals and Gerard had two goals and one assist for St. Ignatius.

Bain Kurtz added a goal and an assist and Michael Boehm and Aaron Casile each scored once for the Wildcats. Riley Kinzel had the other assist for St. Ignatius.

The Wildcats also got a strong performance from their starting goalie.

Carter Blossey made several acrobatic saves to frustrate the Explorers' offense.

Cole Miller had a goal and an assist for Hudson and Jack Burdett and Brady Ludewig each had one goal for the Explorers. Max Cole added an assist.

The Wildcats won 11 of 19 face-offs.

"Every year, we're the hunted because of our success," Blue said. "We're facing better and better athletes each year and the gap between the top teams has gotten much smaller.

"Our Achilles heel was we couldn't put teams away. We need to do a better job of handling that and that's on me."

Blue said goodbye to Corr, Cole, Miller and fellow seniors Max Kleiman, Nick Advent, Chandler Kostseos, Matt Restifo, Will Orazen, Brandon Nelson, Sean Weigel and Enrique Rodriguez.

"Matt Restifo is a hard-nosed kid who battled through injuries," Blue said. "Enrique had a great passion for the sport. Will is a competitor who pushes himself all over the place. Chandler had the highest GPA [grade point average] of all the athletes in the school.

"The athletic field is a great way for kids to learn many different lessons. I look at wins and losses a little differently than most people. Some of these kids are going into business, medicine and law and this is a great vehicle to push them along."

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