CUYAHOGA FALLS — Hudson could be forgiven for believing the true fight song for Walsh Jesuit girls soccer is the Imperial March from "Star Wars."
Winning 10 state titles since 2000 makes the Warriors seem like a favorite no matter who they face.
Thus, Hudson can also be forgiven for celebrating like they blew up the Death Star Monday night.
Walsh Jesuit finished with an 11-2 edge in shots on goal, but the game’s only goal came from Hudson forward Jordan Manley with 12:45 left in the first period of overtime. The 1-0 victory in a Division I district semifinal at John Kissner Field sent Hudson to the district final and improved the Explorers to 12-4-2.
Walsh Jesuit ended its season at 16-2. According to Warriors coach Dino McIntyre, the loss marked the first time Walsh did not with district title in more than 20 years.
Hudson advanced to the Division I district title match vs. Twinsburg Thursday at 7 p.m. at Solon High School’s Stewart Field.
Hudson coach Chris Gentille told his jubilant players "anything could happen after this."
"We told the girls heading into overtime that it was only going to take one moment to win it," Gentille said. "Jordan just hit a beautiful shot."
McIntyre said he didn’t feel like Hudson was an underdog.
"Hudson plays as tough a schedule as we do," McIntryre said. "This was two very good programs going at it. They wanted it more tonight."
McIntyre said his team’s lack of finishing proved to be the decisive factor.
"That’s pretty much been the case for 90 percent of our games this year," McIntyre said. "We’ve played good teams where we’ve put our first three or four chances away. We’ve played other games where we couldn’t put anything away."
From the start, it was clear Hudson wanted to clog the middle of the field and try to deny Walsh’s crosses. While the Explorers did manage to slow the Warriors’ attack, Walsh had a huge possession advantage, as the majority of the game was spent in Hudson’s end.
Walsh sprayed several chances just wide of goal and Hudson goaltender Lily Morgan had one of her best games of the season. Morgan finished with 11 saves on the night, including a leaping save to a shot from Walsh’s Morgan Pentz just before halftime.
Gentille paid tribute to his goaltender, as Morgan collided with Walsh forwards twice during the game and stayed down.
"I don’t think we had too many chances tonight," Gentille said.
In fact, after a 6-1 Walsh edge in shots on goal in the first half, Walsh’s attack was even more dominant in the second half. The Warriors finished with a 7-1 edge in corner kicks, which proved to be some of their dangerous chances, but could not find a way past the Explorers’ defense.
"We got the ball wide, particularly in the second half," McIntyre said. "We did everything right except for finishing tonight."
As the game went to overtime, Walsh again tried to push into the Explorers end, but Hudson was able to get the ball forward on the counterattack.
Ally Campanella slid a through ball to Manley, who was able to find space in the Warriors’ end for the first time on the evening.
Manley dribbled to the top of the Warriors’ box and launched a high arching shot into the upper right corner of the net, giving Walsh goaltender Kiera Sarka no chance and winning the game for Hudson.
The Explorers seemed just as excited to get another shot at Twinsburg, who defeated Hudson 1-0 during the regular season.
As the Warriors, McIntyre lamented the end of his seniors’ careers, particularly that of four-year starter Bella Rosalina.
"We’ve lost a big one with her," McIntrye said of Rosalina. "She’s been the heart and soul of our team for the last four years. Bella plays with a lot of pain, but she never complains about anything."
Rosalina, Sarka, Alivia Su, Katie Schumacher, Haley Felber, Lina Feltovich, Maddie Shinaberry, Grace Krosky, Halle Rogers, Serena Olesinski, Shannon Onders and Olivia Darrow all will graduate this spring for Walsh.