by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson -- They renewed their rivalry three years ago after a long hiatus.
And for the third straight year, the matchup between next-door neighbors Hudson and Western Reserve Academy was as good as advertised.
Unfortunately for the Pioneers, they still haven't beaten their backyard rivals.
The Explorers earned a 1-0 victory over Reserve in a boys soccer contest Sept. 24 on WRA's soccer field.
Hudson, which has won the last two meetings between the two rivals after settling for a draw in 2014, got the only goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
"WRA has a young team," Explorers head coach Steve Knapp said. "They didn't pose too much of a threat to us other than the turnovers we gave them.
"I didn't think we played well. We were disjointed, while WRA was very organized."
Pioneers head coach Herb Haller, on the other hand, was thrilled with his team's play.
Reserve has been battling injuries all season long. One of the players is junior George Wiggam, who is out for the season with a knee injury.
"I thought this was our best game from start to finish," Haller said. "We've had better halves, but in terms of intensity, I was really happy. We just didn't have the depth."
After knocking on the door quite a few times, Hudson got the lone goal late in the first half.
Alex Vuksta passed the ball out of the box to teammate Larry Meehan on the left side. Meehan took a few dribbles and beat Pioneer goalkeeper Josh Weinberg with a low line drive.
For much of the game, the Explorers dictated the pace with their passing game. Hudson also won a majority of the 50-50 balls and controlled possession much of the way.
But other than Meehan's goal, the Explorers didn't pounce on their numerous opportunities.
"We were bigger, stronger and more physical," Knapp said. "It was homecoming, so I think the guys' thoughts were somewhere else. We moved the ball well, but we didn't do anything dangerous."
Hudson goalkeeper Tyler Venti, who entered the game for starter Connor Gynn early in the match, made three saves. Gynn left the game with a shin injury and did not return.
The Explorers had a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal and a 7-3 edge in corner kicks. Weinberg finished with six saves.
Both coaches said their teams enjoy playing one another.
"I think it's good for the community," Haller said. "I think it's good as long as it stays competitive. I think we're at the point where it's still competitive."
The host Pioneers earned a 2-2 draw with Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas Sept. 22.
All four goals were scored in the first half. Andrew Song and Justin Campana each found the nets for Reserve.
Tommy Awender had an assist for the WRA and Weinberg made eight saves in the nets.
St. Thomas Aquinas had a 10-7 advantage in shots on goal. The Pioneers had a 9-7 edge in corner kicks.
Hudson was scheduled to host Suburban League National Conference rival Twinsburg Sept. 27. Results were not available at press time.
The Explorers are set to entertain Massillon Jackson Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
Reserve is scheduled to visit Walsh Jesuit Sept. 27 in Cuyahoga Falls before heading to Youngstown to play Cardinal Mooney Oct. 1. Both contests are set to begin at 7 p.m.