WOOSTER -- Some may argue that the Division I state girls lacrosse title match took place May 27 in Wooster.

Jackson and Hudson were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the laxpower.com rankings and were dominant throughout the season.

Unfortunately, the two teams met in the Elite Eight. So that means one of these two highly talented squads would not be able to participate at the state tournament.

Sadly, the Lady Explorers, who went toe to toe with the mighty Lady Polar Bears in the first 26-plus minutes, were denied access.

Hudson's season came to an end after suffering a 12-4 defeat to Jackson in the Division I, Region 2 title match at Wooster High School's Follis Field.

With the loss, the Lady Explorers, who reached the Division I state semifinals last season, finished 16-3. Hudson also saw its 15-match winning streak end.

The Lady Explorers didn't just lose the match either.

It also was Persy Sample's last match as the Lady Explorers' head coach. Sample, who said she is moving to Colorado, led Hudson to a 31-8 record during her two-year tenure.

"They are very fast and very athletic," Sample said of the Lady Polar Bears. "We had a lot of calls that didn't go our way and when you're not getting the calls, it's definitely a momentum killer. We knew it was going to be a battle. Things just didn't work out."

A little more than a minute into the second half, the momentum appeared to be on the Lady Explorers' side.

Corinne Hunt scored off an assist from Maddie Valko to cut Jackson's lead to 5-4 with 23:47 remaining in the match.

Unfortunately for Hudson, it didn't find the cage again.

The Lady Polar Bears, who defeated the Lady Explorers 15-5 during the regular season, shut down Hudson's highly vaunted attack and poured it on offensively the rest of the way.

Jackson (20-0) got a goal from Elizabeth Davide to make it 6-4 less than four minutes after Hunt's goal.

Julia Hartnett made it 7-4 after following her own miss some 90 seconds later.

The Lady Polar Bears played some keep-away for stretches later in the second half and then turned it up late to score five goals in a span of six minutes to put the match out of reach.

Hudson won just 7 of 20 draws and finished with 14 turnovers.

The Lady Explorers also couldn't solve Jackson goalie Grace Merrill.

Whether it was high or low or from point-blank range, Merrill completely frustrated Hudson's attack by getting her stick or body in front of the ball throughout the match. Merrill finished with 10 saves.

The Lady Explorers also had no answer for Davide, who is planning to continue her academic and lacrosse careers at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Davide scored a match-high four goals and constantly put pressure on Hudson's defense with her lightning speed and quick reflexes.

Hartnett also was a handful as she finished with three goals for Jackson.

Miranda Billett added two goals and Kaylyn Dillon, Olivia Kroah and Anna Woodhams each scored once for the Lady Polar Bears.

Laura Koceski and Camille Patton contributed one assist apiece for Jackson.

Hunt led Hudson with two goals and Valko and Sarah Keller each had one goal and one assist. Kendall Paltani scooped up a team-high seven ground balls.

Lady Explorer goalies Kristin Potts, Addie Gojdics and Addie Judson each had two saves.

Sample had difficulty fighting tears after the match.

"Obviously, it's a very good accomplishment to get this far," she said. "We made it here last year. We wanted to get back to the state tournament, but OHSAA [Ohio High School Athletic Association] made it a harder rout than most."

In her final speech to her players, Sample refused to dwell on the negatives.

She also praised her eight seniors: Hunt, Valko, Keller, Gojdics, Macy Trattner, Arianna Bankovich, Shelby Johnson and Elle Marquez.

"We focused on the positives of our season," she said. "I've coached them since fifth grade and they've had a huge impact on our team. Each one of them has lots of skills. They will be super hard to replace."

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