CUYAHOGA FALLS — So far, this sea­son has been a se­ries of near misses for both the Cuya­hoga Falls and Hud­son boys soc­cer teams when it comes to the Subur­ban League Na­tional Con­fer­ence.

On Tues­day at Lay­bourne Field, the game be­tween the Ex­plor­ers and Black Tigers played out much like it has in re­cent his­tory — which is ex­actly what Falls head coach Eric Or­topan did not want.

A three-goal burst early in the sec­ond half led Hud­son to a 4-1 win over the Back Tigers. The Ex­plor­ers im­proved to 3-5-1 over­all and 2-1-1 in the Na­tional Con­fer­ence, while Falls dropped to 2-6 over­all and 0-4 in the con­fer­ence.

Hud­son coach Steve Knapp noted his team had a full week to stew on last week’s 1-1 draw with North Roy­al­ton, which was a game the Ex­plor­ers be­lieved they should have won.

"We were anx­ious," Knapp said. "We hadn’t played in week. I think, for the most part, we did what we had to do. We had a drop off af­ter about 25 min­utes, which let them get back into it."

Or­topan said the game may have been the worst of the sea­son for the Black Tigers.

"It was not a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what these guys are ca­pa­ble of and we know it," Or­topan said. "We haven’t seen a game like this in some time. They know that we can do bet­ter."

"Against Hud­son, with Steve coach­ing, you have to come out with you A game ev­ery time. We came out with our C game."

The Ex­plor­ers con­trolled the pos­ses­sion early in the game, but needed a set piece to take the lead.

Off a cor­ner kick in the 14th minute, Hud­son’s Owen Dollins served the ball into the box. After a cou­ple of de­flec­tions, Ex­plor­ers’ de­fender Pey­ton Koscho put the ball in right on the doorstep giv­ing Hud­son a 1-0 lead.

The Ex­plor­ers had a 4-0 edge in shots on goal in the first half, but Falls was able to have some mo­ments, de­spite los­ing three starters in the first half due to ham­string in­juries.

"I was play­ing with a Ru­bik’s Cube with our lineup," Or­topan said. "We had to re­spond though."

"We needed to be a bit cleaner," Knapp said. "When you’ve got a one-goal lead, you have be able to close it out."

Off the sec­ond-half kick­off, Hud­son found that sec­ond goal. Just 15 sec­onds into the half, Ex­plor­ers’ cap­tain Ryan Sark­isian got open about 25 yards away from the goal and launched a per­fect shot, which went in just un­der the cross­bar.

"That was a le­git goal right there," Knapp said.

"The early goal re­ally put a hole in our sail," Or­topan said.

To its credit, the Black Tigers found an im­me­di­ate re­ply.

Falls earned a cor­ner kick in the 43rd minute and sent a ball into the six-yard box. Among a for­est of legs, Black Tigers’ de­fender Ma­son Akins poked the ball home, cut­ting the lead to 2-1.

How­ever, Hud­son didn’t flinch and re­stored the two-goal lead in the 44th minute, thanks to some nice work by se­nior Aroon Tcholokov.

Tchololov was able to drib­ble around a pair of Falls’ de­fend­ers be­fore send­ing a ball to the top of the box. Dollins was there and his hit a pin­point shot just un­der Black Tigers’ goal­keeper Tan­ner Guf­fin to make it 3-1.

The Ex­plor­ers iced the game in the 56th minute with a sim­i­lar goal. This time, Sark­isian was able to get to the end line and send a square ball into the box. Sopho­more Sean Durkin got to it an put it home.

Hud­son fin­ished with a 10-2 edge in shots on goal. Ex­plor­ers’ goal­keeper Tyler Venti made one save be­fore be­ing subbed out in the 70th minute.

Guf­fin fin­ished with six saves. Hud­son had a 4-2 edge in cor­ner kicks.

Re­porter Michael Leonard can be reached 330-541-9442, mleonard@record­pub.com or @MLeonard_RPC.