STOW — In 2015, the Hudson field hockey team reached the state final for the first time in nearly two decades.
One of the Explorers’ toughest opponents during that glorious season was a certain rival that happens to make its home just 15 minutes away from Hudson Aurora Road.
These days, the Hudson-Stow-Munroe Falls showdown hasn’t been nearly as thrilling.
That’s because the Explorers have dominated their rivals on Graham Road ever since.
Husdson improved to 3-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Northeast Ohio Field Hockey League after clobbering host Stow 9-1 at Bulldog Stadium.
Despite the Bulldogs’ persistence in clogging the middle of their circle with a plethora of defenders, the Explorers scored three goals in the first nine minutes.
Hudson eventually took complete control in the second half to invoke the running-clock rule.
"It was a good win," said Explorers assistant coach Mo Trattner. "We got here a little late. We had a shorter warmup. They were able to overcome that. I thought we looked good.
"We were able to do a little bit of subbing, as well, for our regular starting positions. It’s always nice to be able to get our subs in to see how they perform under pressure."
The biggest beneficiary of Hudson’s onslaught was senior forward Reilly Timko, who was the team’s backup goalie last year.
Timko scored four times in the second half to put the contest completely out of reach.
"Reilly stepped up last year as a backup goalie because we needed one," Trattner said. "She was a field player her freshman and sophomore years. She had a heck of a game."
Hanna Killeen added two goals and an assist and Reese Stiller had a goal and an assist. Kaci Ramlow and Jamison Cart also scored for the Explorers, who had a commanding 25-2 advantage in shots on goal and a 13-0 edge in penalty corners.
Marita Johnson, Morgan Lindow and Katie Moloney each had one assist for Hudson.
Goaltender Sadie Mrakuzic made two saves between the pipes for the Explorers. Stow goalie Audrey Jones, who was under siege throughout the match, stopped 23 shots. Several of those saves came on shots from point-blank range.
Since Hudson’s thrilling 4-3 win over the Bulldogs in 2015, the Explorers had not given up a goal to their rivals from the south.
That impressive shutout streak came to an end in the final 90-plus seconds.
Stow (2-5, 2-4) was awarded a penalty stroke after getting deep in Hudson’s end. Emily Owens took advantage of her opportunity and buried her shot into the right corner of the goal.
That meant little to the Explorers, though. They dominated play from start to finish.
"We’re trying to keep everything in perspective," Trattner said. "One game at a time, playing with a purpose. That’s what we’re trying to drive home with them. Everybody on the field is contributing. We like to reinforce that. Everybody has a purpose on the field while they’re playing."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.