STOW — There’s been ups and downs for both Hudson and Stow-Munroe Falls girls soccer this season. In recent history, however, the Explorers have had the number of their neighbors to the south.
On Wednesday at Bulldog Stadium, Hudson continued that trend, despite a spirited effort from Stow.
A hat trick from forward Jordan Manley and two own goals led Hudson to a 5-3 win over a scrappy Bulldogs squad. Hudson improved to 8-3, 4-1 in the Suburban League National Conference with the win.
Stow, which was coming off a 1-0 win over Uniontown Lake Saturday, dropped to 2-6-3 , 0-4-1 in the National Conference.
Hudson coach Chris Gentile said he would take the win, but felt the contest never should have been as close as it was.
"We should have put in a few more of our chances," Gentille said. "I think we left a lot of opportunities on the field to take control of the game."
Stow coach Jim Dudones praised his team’s efforts, but noted it needed to be sharper at the outset of the game.
"We’ve got to be better from the start," Dudones said. "I told them I love their resiliency, but we can’t keep putting ourselves in a hole early in the game. They had two goals in the first five minutes after the start of each half. "
Hudson took the lead in the fifth minute off a corner kick. Maddie Coats to a nice service into the box and Manley out-jumped everyone to head the ball into net near the back post.
"We have got to get much better in the air," Dudones said. "I don’t want to be the team we’ve been on set pieces."
However, Stow would be able to find a reply to the early goal. In the 13th minute, Stow forward Emily Andrassy ran through a seam in Hudson’s defense and put a shot on net. Hudson goaltender Lily Morgan parried the initial shot, but Stow’s Jane Freeman crashed the net and put the loose ball into the open net.
"Their first two goals were on balls that Lily made saves on," Gentille said. "On the first one, we just didn’t have anyone back there to help out."
Morgan finished with nine saves on the night, compared to six by Stow goaltender Ashley Briggs. Stow finished with the edge in shots on goal (12-10), while Hudson had the edge in corner kicks (5-2).
After an even first half, Gentille got on his player to come up with more energy in the second half. Hudson did just that, with Manley leading the charge.
In the 42nd minute, Manley stole the ball off a Stow defender and launched a high shot from just outside the box. The ball flew in just under the crossbar, giving Briggs not chance.
In the 48th minute, Manley drove into the box from the near side and sent a cross into the six-yard box. The ball deflected off a Stow defenders leg and into the net for an own goal."
"Both own goals are things that just happen," Dudones said. "When you give up good positions to your opponents, things happen in their favor."
Again, Stow attempted to answer the Explorers and pulled one back in the the 62n minute.
A corner kick from Stow’s Madi Marino was headed on net by McKenzie Klingensmith, but saved by Morgan. The ensuing scramble for the loose ball was won by Stow forward Elyse Casalinova, who poked it home from point-blank rage to make it 3-2.
Six minutes later, another own goal restored Hudson’s two-goal cushion. A free kick from Hudson’s Anna Campanella bounced off the head of a Stow defender and into the net.
Manley would ice the game in the 72nd minute when she was fouled in the penalty box. Manley took the penalty kick herself and completed the hat trick, blasting a shot in the upper left corner of the net and giving Briggs no chance.
Stow fought to end and got one more goal in the 78th minute. A through ball from Tatum Bradley allowed Andrassy to run past the Hudson defense and slot a low shot past Morgan to make it 5-3, but Stow would get not closer.
"We didn’t play a bad game," Gentille said. "We just have to be able to covert our chances, especially in the postseason. Otherwise, it will be a quick exit for us."
Stow will travel to Revere Monday at 7 p.m. and Cuyahoga Falls Wednesday at 7 p.m. Hudson was set to face Kent Roosevelt Saturday at Dante Lavelli Field at 11 a.m. before traveling to Twinsburg Wednesday at 7 p.m.