When it all comes together, Chris Gentille will be absolutely thrilled.
Of course, it’s not like the fourth-year Hudson head girls soccer coach isn’t delighted now.
The Explorers might take a cue from the rock band Panic! At the Disco as they enter the 2019 season.
That’s because they "have high, high hopes for a living."
Hudson certainly lived the good life last year. The Explorers finished 12-5-1 overall and 5-1-1 in the Suburban League National Conference.
One of those wins was a thrilling 1-0 overtime victory over 10-time state champion and longtime nemesis Walsh Jesuit in a Solon Division I district semifinal game.
Unfortunately, Hudson’s road ended one game later. The Explorers lost to Twinsburg 2-0 in the district final.
Nonetheless, Gentille’s collection of female dynamos are ready to do it all over again. This time, they want to add some hardware to their trophy case.
"I’m happy with where we’re at," Gentille said. "A month or so down the road, we should be really good."
When it comes to a certain aspect of the team, one could take either a half-empty-glass approach of a half-full-glass approach.
Hudson has just three seniors on the roster. But from another perspective, you can make that statement in a much more euphoric manner.
In this case, the Explorers only have three seniors on their roster.
All three of those young ladies have thrived rather nicely despite a vast amount of battle scars.
They are Abby Kern, Lilly Morgan and Kierstin Havens.
"I have high expectations for the three seniors," said Gentille, who is 32-17-7 at Hudson and 146-69-22 during his 18 years as a head coach. "They have done a great job of leading the team."
Kern will move to the middle of the field after spending time closer to the sidelines. The speedy senior is switching from outside back to center back this fall.
"Abby is smart, fast and physical," Gentille said. "She’s more comfortable as a center defender. That’s her natural position."
Morgan, a goalkeeper who recently made a verbal commitment to continue her academic and soccer careers at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, led her club team, the Cleveland Futbol Club to a national championship last month.
"Lily is irreplaceable," Gentille said. "She has made some huge saves for us. She’s going to have a nice year and we’re going to play good defense for her. Lily is the anchor of the whole thing."
Havens, a center midfielder, recently made a verbal commitment to continue her academic and soccer careers at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.
"Kierstin is a big, strong, tall player who plays physical," Gentille said. "We’ll rely on her heavily. She’s a good distributor and a good leader for us in the midfield."
Five juniors also plan to follow the seniors’ lead. They are forward Ally Campanella, defensive center midfielder Maddie Coates, center defender Kali Sweet, midfielder Julia Silverman and defender Mackenzie Pierce.
"Ally has gotten so much better from last year to this year," Gentille said. "I expect her to have a big year. Maddie will help our back line. She’ll get there first before anyone gets through the back line. She does a great job taking corner kicks.
"Kali has taken big steps to being a good vocal leader in the back. She’s a good communicator who makes good decisions. Mackenzie and Julia are really good role players off the bench."
Gentille also welcomes back junior forward Tori Liesen, who ran for the cross country team last year. Liesen, who is currently nursing a knee injury, has verbally committed to play at Cleveland State University.
"Tori will be a player in our attack," Gentille said. "She is one of our better players. She’ll be out for about two to three more weeks and then she’ll be back."
The Explorers also have five sophomores on their roster. Leading the way is outside forward Lauren Pacsi, who can run like a deer, according to Gentille.
"Lauren has great speed," he said. "She’ll be able to create opportunities this year. She gives us a lot of speed outside. She just needs to work on placing shots in the corners a little better."
The rest of the sophomore class features outside defenders Marissa Ludewig and Mira Jadallah; and midfielders/forwards Ava Eismon and Demi Gutierrez.
"Marissa has a nose for the ball," Gentille said. "She’s very fast in the back. When she does get beat, she recovers really well. Mira will be an outside defender or holding midfielder. She’s a versatile player."
Gentille is particularly enthused about his freshman class. Rumor has it that Hudson could have six such players in its lineup later in the season.
The four current varsity freshman players are center forward Katia Ikhlef, center midfielder Alice Xu, outside defender Emma Liesen, who is Tori’s younger sister, and outside forward Reagan Miele.
All four of those young ladies could be in the starting lineup when the Explorers take the field in their season opener.
"Reagan might be the fastest girl on the team," Gentille said. "She has the potential to be a great player once she figures out what to do on the varsity level."
Two other freshmen will dress for the varsity team for at least one half of every game, according to Gentille. They are Olivia Greenbaum and Grace Baldwin.
Gentille’s varsity assistant is Charles Harger. Laura Hester will serve as a volunteer coach and Giordana Koutavas will lead the junior varsity team. Cliff Grove will be her assistant.
Hudson, which plans to utilize a 4-3-3 formation, is motivated to make a run at both the conference and district championships. Like a certain pop-rock song that reached No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 last year, the Explorers want to "be something greater" and "go make a legacy."
"We have the capability of having a long playoffs," Gentille said.
The Explorers are scheduled to open their 2019 season against North Olmsted Friday at Hudson Memorial Stadium. Play is set to begin at 7 p.m.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.