HUDSON — It could be a simple matter of eye contact.
Or maybe it’s a case of extrasensory perception.
One way or another, Hudson attackers Kendall Paltani and Maggie Palumbo have a knack for bringing out the best in each other whenever they take the field.
“Maggie and I are like two peas in a pod,” Paltani said. “We don’t even talk. I see her cutting and I’m like, ‘Oh, she can catch the ball.’”
The Explorers’ version of Romy and Michele was a box-office smash Saturday.
As a result, the Hudson girls lacrosse team remains unbeaten in 2019.
Facing their stiffest test yet, the host Explorers earned a hard-fought 13-7 victory over Chagrin Falls at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
With the win, Hudson, which reached the Division I state semifinals in 2018, improved to 3-0 after dominating the final 12-plus minutes of the match.
The Explorers scored five unanswered goals during that time frame against a team that reached the Division II state title contest last spring.
Not surprisingly, Hudson’s duo of “All the Way” Mae Modabito and Doris Murphy played a role in all five of those backbreaking tallies.
Paltani, a senior, was lethal as a finisher. She scored five goals, including three on free-position opportunities, and added an assist.
Palumbo, a junior, finished with three goals and four assists. Her last assist took place on the final goal of the match.
Fittingly, Paltani was the one who scored that goal.
“This is one of our toughest competitions in our regular season,” Palumbo said. “We did really well.”
If you want two athletes who are willing to stay out of the spotlight and allow their teammates to dictate the action, you would probably be wise to stay away from the “Killer P’s.”
“They like to take charge,” Hudson first-year head coach Kyra Maludy said of her two attackers. “They have really bold personalities, so I think that works for them taking charge on the attack.”
Paltani seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to her lacrosse BFF. There is no such thing as a bad pass if Palumbo is lurking nearby.
“I just whip it in there,” Paltani said. “She somehow catches it and turns around and scores.”
Hudson’s gifted duo couldn’t work its magic in the early stages of the match.
The Tigers were determined to keep the ball away from the Explorers. Once the ball landed in the Chagrin Falls’ players’ sticks, Hudson’s defenders could only run around aimlessly as the Tigers passed it around endlessly from side to side.
“We started to work together at the end,” Palumbo said. “We started off kind of rough in the beginning. Our coaches called a few timeouts and we just talked about a few things we were doing wrong.
“We just looked for more open shots instead of forcing everything. We called our play where we just settle it. It ended up working.”
Paltani, who likes to get the ball, fire away and then repeat those two steps all over again, was particularly uncomfortable.
When your objective is to put the ball in the cage, it’s quite easy to feel helpless if your adversaries have possession.
“It was 100 percent frustrating,” Paltani said. “All we needed was the ball back and rack up the score. We never got the ball back because they held it for literally 20 minutes.”
Fortunately for Paltani, Palumbo and the rest of the Explorers, Chagrin Falls’ stall tactics didn’t last forever.
And once Hudson found its rhythm, the Tigers couldn’t keep up.
“It was really fun,” Paltani said. “I thought it was a fun game to play because it went back and forth the whole game. I thought we were better than them the whole time, but they held the ball the whole time.
“Once we got the ball, we just needed to settle it. Once we settled it, we always got an open shot.”
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.