HUDSON -- After a long hiatus, the Hudson and Western Reserve Academy boys soccer teams renewed their acquaintances with each other three years ago.

Thus far, all the games have been competitive since the Explorers and Pioneers renewed their rivalry.

For now, though, Hudson has bragging rights in the 44236 zip code.

The Explorers improved to 4-4-1 on the season after posting a 2-0 victory over the Pioneers Sept. 16 at Hudson Memorial Stadium.

Hudson controlled the pace for much of the evening and had far more dangerous opportunities on offense than Reserve did.

The Explorers had the ball much of the time, thanks to their possession game.

The Hudson players had a knack for making nifty moves to get away from WRA defenders and then putting short passes together on the turf to their teammates.

As a result, the Pioneers found themselves chasing Explorers for much of the game.

"They are a well-coached team," Hudson third-year head coach Steve Knapp said of Reserve. "Their coaching staff is amazing. They are really disciplined."

On this night, the Explorers just had a little bit more skill and a little bit more speed.

Hudson got both of its goal on set pieces.

With a little bit more than 24 minutes left in the first half, David Tullett was awarded a free kick from the right side of the field.

Tullett sent a curling ball toward the far post that was headed by teammate Ryan Sarkisian toward the middle of the field inside Reserve's penalty box.

Wilson Sattele got to the ball and poked a shot into the net from point-blank range to give the Explorers a 1-0 lead.

Hudson got its second goal after halftime.

With less than 24 minutes remaining in the game, Tullett took a corner kick from the right side.

His kick once again went toward the far post and was volleyed into the net off the right foot of teammate Sebastiano Tibolla.

WRA (3-4-1) got deep a few times, but the Pioneers struggled to get quality shots from close range.

"I was really happy with the effort," longtime Reserve head coach Herb Haller said. "The boys played well. We gave up two restart goals. That's an area of the game that we have to get better."

It could have been worse for WRA.

Hudson had plenty of shots either deflected off the bodies of Pioneer defenders or they were saved by Reserve goalkeeper Josh Weinberg.

The junior captain made some acrobatic saves, including an all-out dive to his left on a hard shot by Explorer attack player Ryan Sarkisian early in the game.

"Their goalie was awesome," Knapp said. "We had three shots from point-blank range inside the 6. Three times, he came up with big saves."

Weinberg finished with 8 stops on the night as the Explorers had a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal. Hudson also had a 6-3 edge in corner kicks.

"Josh has played extremely well for us all season," Haller said. "We count on him not only for his play, but also for his leadership. His leadership is one of the reasons why he was named a captain as a junior."

Although he had far less chances than Weinberg, Explorer co-captain Connor Gynn made 3 saves.

Since the two teams renewed their rivalry in 2015, Hudson has won twice. The two squads played to a draw in their first meeting.

"We like this game," Knapp said. "It is a rivalry, but the guys kind of looked at it as just another game. They know it's a rivalry. The kids understood it.

"We're just trying to develop better team chemistry with all of the new faces. It has taken us six games to really hone in on our formation."

Haller is extremely pleased to see the Explorers on a regular basis. He hopes he can continue seeing Hudson play his team on the pitch for years to come.

"We have some kids from Hudson, so they know each other," Haller said. "Historically, this has always been a good soccer game. It's one of the reasons why I tried to get it back a few years ago. It's good to have two teams playing against each other that play the right way."

The Explorers are scheduled to entertain Suburban League National Conference rival Cuyahoga Falls Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.

WRA is set to host Akron Manchester Sept. 21 at 5 p.m.

The Pioneers are scheduled to entertain Kidron Central Christian Sept. 23 at 3 p.m.


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