HUDSON — Sometimes, one sequence can completely alter the outcome of a game.

Unfortunately for the Hudson girls soccer team, that may have been the case in its 2017 debut.

The Lady Explorers suffered a 2-0 defeat to perennial area power Medina in both teams' season opener Aug. 18 at Hudson Memorial Stadium.

Almost 12 minutes into the game, Hudson had a chance to get on the board after being awarded a penalty kick.

Senior midfielder Elena Vuksta took the kick, but Medina junior goalie Emma Bulan made a diving stop to her left on Vuksta's low liner. It was her lone save of the night.

"It could have been the reverse," Lady Explorers' second-year head coach Chris Gentille said. "We missed that PK early in the game. That could have been the difference maker."

Instead, Lady Battling Bees' senior Janiece Joyner was the difference maker.

Joyner, who plans to continue her academic and soccer careers at the University of Michigan, had a goal and an assist to lead Medina.

The Lady Battling Bees got their first goal on a set piece.

Junior midfielder/forward Tarah Roller took a direct kick from the right side of the field. The ball went toward the center of the penalty box and Joyner jumped high into the air to head the ball into the back of the net.

"She's a great athlete," Gentille said of Joyner. "She can get up a little higher than our girls. I thought [senior defender] Cali Stuursma and [sophomore midfielder] Lauren Heidler controlled her well. It's hard to keep a player like that in check for long."

The Lady Explorers had a few breakaways thwarted by the Lady Battling Bees.

A little more than a minute into the second half, junior forward Jordan Manley had a breakaway chance.

But junior goalkeeper Tori DeLappi dove to the ground to cover the ball before Manley could take a shot.

"Jordan had one touch too many," Gentille said. "We definitely didn't cheat ourselves. If we go up 1-0, we could have set the tone in a different way."

Joyner raised havoc again less than two minutes after Manley's breakaway chance.

This time, she played the role of playmaker.

Joyner got the ball on the left side and sent a pass to the middle of the field.

The ball landed at the left foot of sophomore midfielder/forward Haley Anspach, who one-timed the shot into the right corner of the net with 37:16 left.

Medina, which also earned a 1-0 victory in the junior varsity game, had a 4-2 advantage in shots on goal. Both teams had two corner kicks.

Hudson sophomore goalkeeper Lily Morgan made three saves.

Like most coaches, Gentille isn't satisfied with moral victories. However, he was pleased with his team's play and feels his players have barely scratched the surface in terms of reaching their full potential.

"I'm happy with how we played, but we wanted more," Gentille said. "We'll take this Aug. 18. Hopefully, we'll play better Oct. 18. It was a good step of what we know we can be."

The Lady Explorers are scheduled to entertain Boardman Aug. 21 at 7 p.m.


Phone: 330-541-9444

Facebook: FrankAcetoRecordPublishingCoSports

Twitter: FrankAceto_RPC