by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson -- For the second consecutive game, the Hudson boys soccer team lost its starting goalkeeper because of an injury.
Twinsburg, on the other hand, barely had enough players on the field to compete against the Explorers in the second half.
The host Explorers remained undefeated in the Suburban League National Conference after posting a 1-0 victory over Twinsburg Sept. 27 at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
Hudson (9-1-1) was alone on top of the National Conference standings as of press time. The Explorers improved to 5-0 in the conference.
Wadsworth earned a 2-2 draw with Brecksville-Broadview Heights Sept. 27.
The Grizzlies and the Bees were 4-0-1 as of press time.
Both Hudson and the Tigers had to deal with some adversity.
Explorers' starting junior goalkeeper Connor Gynn injured his neck late in the first half and did not return.
Gynn suffered an injury for the second time in three days.
He also left the game early in the first half with a shin injury during Hudson's 1-0 win over Western Reserve Academy Sept. 24.
The Explorers also were missing sophomore backup keeper Tyler Venti, who was out with an injury.
As a result, junior goalie Andrew Northrup got the call and he finished with two saves.
"Connor is OK," Hudson head coach Steve Knapp said. "He hit the back of his neck. I thought Andrew did a great job."
Twinsburg senior forward Elijah Savitt also left the game with a leg injury in the second half. On top of that, the Tigers had two players forced to leave the field due to fouls.
One player got two yellow cards and another player received a red card.
"It happens," longtime Twinsburg head coach Mike Lally said. "We had chances to tie it. We've been prepared for situations when we are a man down."
While the Explorers, thanks to their skill and playmaking, were on the attack most of the game, the Tigers (6-4, 1-3) managed to keep things scoreless for much of the evening due to their physical play and resilience on defense.
Hudson had a golden opportunity to get on the board less than nine minutes into the game.
After a foul was called in the box, the Explorers were awarded a penalty kick. Senior midfielder Alex Vuksta got the call, but his low line drive to the left side of the goal was saved by Tigers' senior goalie Carter Yee.
"That was a great save," Knapp said.
Hudson finally got what turned out to be the game-winning goal with 15:59 remaining in the game.
Senior midfielder Sam Durkin got free on the right side of the field. After taking a few dribbles, he crossed the ball toward the left side of the goal.
Vuksta made up for his earlier miss by tapping Durkin's pass into the net.
"Sam got it to the end line," Knapp said. "It was basically a tap-in. I thought we played well in the first 25 minutes. I felt we deserved to score. We created chances. We just didn't get that goal."
Lally felt his defense got a bit sloppy on the Explorers' goal.
"We play a 4-4-1 and we should have been comfortable with it," he said. "We didn't stay in front."
Not long after the goal, Twinsburg had its second player ejected from the game. As a result, Hudson played the final 15-plus minutes with a two-man advantage.
Nonetheless, the Tigers still managed to make things interesting.
They had two opportunities on long free kicks in the final seven minutes of the game.
But the Explorers' defense denied Twinsburg on both chances.
"They a physical team," Knapp said. "They've got some big boys. I thought they were a good team."
Knapp also was pleased to see his players keep their cool when things got chippy.
"We have a senior-heavy team," he said. "They stayed composed. They're good kids, plain and simple."
Hudson had an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal and a 3-1 edge in corner kicks.
Gynn had one save in limited duty and Yee stopped 10 shots for the Tigers.
The Explorers were scheduled to entertain Massillon Jackson Sept. 29. Results were not available at press time.
Hudson is set to visit National Conference rival Wadsworth Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.