HUDSON — Throughout the years, the Hudson boys soccer team has seen it a number of times.

The opposing squad tries to pack in its defense to prevent goals and then rely on that one counterattack on the offensive end.

Such a tactic can be frustrating and it has led to unsatisfying results for the Explorers.

In its latest showdown, Hudson found itself in this difficult situation against a very pesky and very resilient Cuyahoga Falls' team.

For awhile, the Black Tigers' plan worked beautifully.

The Explorers got a bit anxious and forced situations that simply weren't favorable.

However, Hudson was eventually able to crack Falls' mysterious code and didn't look back.

The Explorers improved to 5-4-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the Suburban League National Conference with a 4-1 victory over the Black Tigers.

The contest took place Tuesday at Hudson Memorial Stadium.

All five goals were scored in the second half as a determined Falls' defense refused to let anyone get near the goal.

"We didn't handle it well," Hudson head coach Steve Knapp said. "They [the Black Tigers] were very organized. We wanted to force something and as a result, we exposed the ball and turned it over."

If Falls' defense could frustrate the Explorers enough, the Black Tiger offense hoped to catch the Explorers' defense off-guard.

But Hudson's attack was relentless throughout the game.

And eventually, Falls' formidable brick wall came tumbling down.

"We run a very structured defense," said Black Tigers head coach Eric Ortopan, whose team fell to 2-5-2 overall and 0-4 in the conference. "We didn't change things up in the second half. They had the majority of the possession in the first half in terms of run of play. We were looking to be more aggressive in the second half."

The Explorers, who had somes shots go just over or just wide of the goal in the first 40 minutes, finally got their possession game going after halftime.

Less than eight minutes into the second half, sophomore forward Skanda Moorthy got Hudson on the board.

After a corner kick by senior midfielder David Tullett, the ball went to senior midfielder Sebastian Kreiss near the goal.

Kreiss found Moorthy, who ripped a shot into the right side of the net to make it 1-0.

The goal seemed to rejuvenate the Explorers as their offense suddenly looked ruthlessly efficient again.

"We needed to play quicker," Knapp said. "You're not always going to find the final ball. We needed to knock it around and make two or three passes. That opened things up.

"After we got the first goal, it was a relief. We started creating chances."

They sure did, although Falls played an inadvertent role in one of those opportunities.

Approximately six minutes after the first goal, Hudson struck again.

Junior forward Ryan Sarkisian dribbled the ball on the left side toward the goal.

As he got near the goal, Sarkisian crossed the ball toward the far post.

His pass landed at the right foot of a Black Tiger defender, who accidentally kicked the ball into his own net.

"We have eight sophomores on the field, so it's a learning process," Ortopan said. "Our defensive formation gives us an opportunity to learn. We just need to be more dangerous in the attack."

The Explorers made it 3-0 with a little less than 12 minutes remaining when freshman midfielder Ben Hallis found the net inside Falls' penalty box.

However, the Black Tigers made the play of the night just five seconds later.

On the kickoff at midfield, senior forward Evan Hodson decided to go for it all.

He simply kicked the ball with all of his might from approximately 50 yards and the ball went into the upper portion of the net.

"That was one of those things where they caught us off-guard," Knapp said. "It was perfect. You couldn't have placed it better than he did."

Although the Hudson players were stunned by what they saw, they were able to regroup quickly.

With just a little more than eight minutes remaining, the Explorers struck one last time.

Senior midfielder Wilson Sattele found Moorthy, who blasted a shot from near the 18-yard line into the upper right corner of the net.

Moorthy recently switched positions. Let's just say the strategy has worked out rather well for Hudson.

"We moved Skanda from outside to center mid," Knapp said. "We're getting him on the ball more and it's paying off. He has been instrumental in leading the midfield."

The Explorers had a 14-2 advantage in shots on goal and a 7-0 edge in corner kicks.

Hudson senior goalkeeper Connor Gynn charged out of the nets to punch out a few Falls' shots from long range, but for the most part, he had a relatively slow day at the office. Gynn, who got the rest of the night off after his team took a 3-0 lead, needed to make just one official save.

Black Tiger junior goalie Tanner Guffin, on the other hand, had a much busier day between the pipes.

He finished with 10 saves and had a brief hiatus away from the field after injuring his back while trying to make a save.

Fortunately, Guffin was able to return quickly after a short stay on the sideline.

"He's fine," Ortopan said of his keeper. "He hit his back on the post. "This has been the story of our season. We were down 1-0 against Twinsburg and we were 0-0 against Brecksville. We were down 1-0 at halftime against Wadsworth.

"This game was very similar to Brecksville. Our league is obviously tough."

The Explorers are scheduled to visit National Conference rival Stow-Munroe Falls Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.

Falls is set to visit Ellet Sept. 21 in Akron. Play is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

The Black Tigers are set to entertain Akron Coventry Sept. 23 at 5 p.m.

Falls is scheduled to visit National Conference foe Nordonia Sept. 26 in Macedonia. Play is set to begin at 7 p.m.


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