HUDSON — They had some key people missing.
Nevertheless, the Copley Indians were the No. 1-ranked Division II soccer team in the state heading into Saturday’s showdown.
Apparently, the Hudson girls soccer team wasn’t impressed.
The host Explorers earned a 2-1 victory over Copley in a Suburban League crossover showdown at Hudson Memorial Stadium. With the win, Hudson improved to 3-2-1. The Indians, who had some players missing, including All-Ohio senior Maia Ransom, due to injuries, dropped to 4-3.
"They’re a very good team," Explorers head coach Chris Gentille said of the Indians. "They’re going to go far in Division II, I think, come playoff time this year just based on the team that they’ll have in about a month when they get everybody healthy. That was a good win for us to get back on track."
Hudson has dealt with health issues, as well. But it looks like the Explorers are getting closer and closer to having a clean bill of health.
Tori Liesen, who recently returned from an injury earlier in the week, played 60 minutes Saturday. Hudson also welcomed back Demi Gutierrez, who missed some time due to a concussion.
The Explorers also hope to have Kierstin Havens back in the lineup in another couple of weeks. Regardless if its has all of its cards in one deck, Hudson has little to no margin for error when it comes to the Suburban League National Conference title picture.
That’s because the Explorers had to settle for an unsatisfying 2-2 draw against Brecksville-Broadview Heights last Wednesday on the road.
"We know we probably have to win out since we tied Brecksville," Gentille said. "They’re pretty motivated to do that. When we get healthy, slowly but surely, I think we’ll be a dangerous team once we kind of get everybody in the flow of things again. I’m looking forward to that day."
Hudson had to overcome some adversity against the talented Indians too.
Copley took a 1-0 lead when Zara Worford scored her first career goal after a corner kick from the left side. The tally took place less than two minutes into the second half.
The Explorers responded, though, and dictated the pace the rest of the way.
Hudson got the equalizer when a pair of freshmen went to work. Katia Ikhlef flicked a pass to classmate Alice Xu on the left side. Xu poked the ball into the opposite corner of the net on a bounce with a little less than 32 minutes left.
The Explorers got the go-ahead goal a little more than three minutes later off a perfectly executed corner kick.
Kali Sweet served the ball from the left side that was headed into the net by Ally Campanella to give Hudson a 2-1 advantage.
The Explorers didn’t lose their lead the rest of the way.
Copley goalkeeper Bridget Milligan made four saves, while Hudson goalie Lily Morgan stopped two shots.
The Explorers had a 6-3 advantage in shots on goal and a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
"I thought our defense played well," Gentille said. "Abby Kern and Kali played great in the middle. Marissa [Ludewig] had a great second half and Emma [Liesen] and everybody who substituted, [Julia] Silverman, played a good game.
"I was happy with the game, especially with a bad tie we had the other night. For us to come back against a good team like that, it’s good."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.