HUDSON — Three years ago, the Hudson and Kent Roosevelt girls soccer teams played a classic in postseason play.

The 2017 contest may not have been quite as dramatic as the 2014 showdown, but it sure was a dandy, nonetheless.

The second-seeded Lady Explorers lived another day after posting a dramatic come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the seventh-seeded Lady Rough Riders in a Kent Division I sectional title game.

The contest took place Thursday evening at Hudson Memorial Stadium.

With the win, Hudson, which rallied from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Roosevelt 5-4 in sectional play three years ago, earned a date with third-seeded Twinsburg in a Region 1 district semifinal game.

That contest is scheduled to take place Monday evening at Hudson. Game time is set for 7 p.m. The Lady Tigers advanced with a 2-1 win over sixth-seeded Aurora Thursday.

Despite facing an onslaught of shots by the Lady Explorers' plethora of talented attackers, the Lady Rough Riders had a 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal a little bit more than two minutes into the game by senior midfielder Kayla Fischer.

But Hudson was able to score two second-half goals to hold off a very competitive Roosevelt squad.

"They (the Lady Rough Riders) had a very nice game plan," second-year Lady Explorers head coach Chris Gentille said. "I think if they would have played us straight up, the score would have been more lopsided.

"They did a good job of getting an early goal and dropping back. It worked for a good 60 minutes."

In the blink of an eye, Roosevelt had a 1-0 lead.

After a turnover by Hudson (11-3-3), Fischer, who plans to continue her academic and soccer careers at The Ohio State University in Columbus, got free on the left side, beat a Lady Explorer defender and drilled a low liner into the right corner of the net.

Fischer didn't have very many touches, thanks to Hudson players' ability to keep the ball at their feet.

But every time Fischer had the ball, the Lady Explorers made sure they had multiple defenders close to her.

"It's tough playing against a girl like Kayla," Gentille said. "We had a turnover and she was off to the races for 50 or 60 yards. It was a frustrating first couple of minutes.

"We wanted to have someone defend her and another person shadow her. If one person got beat, someone else would be there to help. Since we turned the ball over, we didn't have that support help."

Other than Fischer's goal, the Lady Rough Riders (11-6-1), who won the Suburban League American Conference title during the regular season, found themselves under siege on defense for much of the way.

Hudson had opportunity after opportunity denied by Roosevelt's very resilient and very determined defense.

The Lady Explorers had many shots deflected, they had a few saved by Lady Rough Riders' senior goalie Liz Hartung and they also had a bunch of shots go wide or over the goal.

"Hudson has so many different players and all of them have the potential to score," Roosevelt first-year head coach Jerry Shutway said. "We did what we could to limit their space. As the game wore on, we got leg weary. As a result, we let a couple sneak in."

The Lady Explorers finally got on the board nearly 11 minutes into the second half.

Junior forward Jordan Manley scored on a rebound with her right foot inside the Lady Rough Riders' penalty box. Senior midfielder Elena Vuksta was credited with the assist.

Hudson got the game-winning goal on a corner kick with less than three minutes left.

Vuksta's kick from the left side sailed toward the far post. Senior midfielder Olivia Adkins got to it and poked the ball into the net with her right foot.

"We had lots of good opportunities," Gentille said. "It's tough to get one through when the other team drops nine or 10 players. We stuck to our game plan. You just have to find a way to get through."

The Lady Explorers' defense prevailed, but not before a valiant last-ditch effort by Roosevelt.

With about a minute left, Fischer got free and beat a defender deep in Hudson territory.

But the Lady Explorers got the help defense they needed and were able to knock the ball away from her.

With 1 second remaining on the clock, Lady Rough Riders' senior midfielder Kendra Kline, who plans to continue her academic and soccer careers at Kent State University, was awarded a direct kick.

Her shot from about 30 yards went wide right of the goal and when Hudson sophomore goalkeeper Lily Morgan touched the ball with her hands, the game ended.

"You just hope there is a shot on goal and Lily makes the save," Gentille said.

Hartung finished with 6 stops on the evening as the Lady Explorers had a 10-2 advantage in shots on goal and a 7-1 edge in corner kicks.

Prior to joining Hudson, Gentille was Twinsburg's head coach.

"Top to bottom, Twinsburg has a good all-around team," he said. "The good thing is we don't have to focus on a Kayla Fischer. No one has a Kayla Fischer.

"Twinsburg has a good defense, they have good midfielders and they're good up top. It doesn't get any easier. We're going to have our hands full."


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