TWINSBURG — They could meet again in a far more significant battle later this month.
For now, though, the Hudson boys soccer team has the edge over Twinsburg.
A very slight edge, by the way.
The Explorers improved to 8-4-3 overall after earning a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the host Tigers Tuesday at Twinsburg Tiger Stadium.
With the win, Hudson finished 4-2-1 in the Suburban League National Conference. Twinsburg, which dropped to 8-5-2, finished 3-3-1 in the conference.
"They’re a good side," Knapp said of the Tigers. "They have some really good players and they’re coached really well. They’re hard to break down. They play defense really well. They limited our opportunities."
Twinsburg struck first when Emerson Schneeman blasted a shot from the right side into the upper corner of the net. The goal, which was shot from approximately 32 yards away, gave the Tigers a 1-0 advantage with a little more than seven minutes left in the first half.
But the Explorers got their offense rolling after halftime.
Hudson tied the game when Ben Hallis chipped a ball on a bounce several yards in front of him. The ball landed near the feet of Pete Strawbridge, who beat Twinsburg’s defense, which tried to draw him offsides.
Strawbridge gathered the ball and then poked it over the head of Tigers’ goalie Connor Stuchal, who charged toward him. The ball trickled into the net to tie the match with just a hair more than five minutes into the second half.
Hudson used a rocket to take a 2-1 lead.
Skanda Moorthy crushed a shot from more than 30 yards away into the net with 23:32 remaining.
"We wanted to be more dangerous up top," Knapp said. "We went to a little bit quicker attacking group. That seemed to get us in behind a little bit more. Once you get in behind them, things open up in front of you. I’m proud of the fact that we created a lot of chances in the second half."
However, the Tigers didn’t blink.
With a little less than 19 minutes left, Twinsburg took advantage of a perfectly executed corner kick.
Left-footed Uleto Fuentes served the ball from the left corner. His kick landed near the back post and was headed into the net by Connor Gantous.
A little more than eight minutes later, the Explorers got the eventual game-winner on their own set piece.
Left-footed Sean Durkin booted a corner kick from the right side to the near post. Peyton Koscho jumped into the air to head it into the goal for a 3-2 Hudson lead.
"Sometimes, it’s keep it simple, stupid," Knapp said. "We just need to go back to basics. Part of that is my fault, trying to find different combinations. I just need to stick with my gut and stick with what was there in the beginning. That’s what we’re back to."
Both teams had their share of near misses. Gantous got free on the left side late in the game, but his shot went just wide.
The Explorers had a 7-2 advantage in shots on goal and a 5-3 edge in corner kicks. Stuchal finished with four saves.
"The boys never had their heads down," Knapp said. "They felt we were going to get a goal. Once that first goal came, we thought we were going to get a second."
Hudson is the top seed in the Solon Division I sectional-district tournament. Twinsburg received the fifth seed.
The two teams could meet again in a district semifinal match a little more than two weeks later.
"The district is so tough," Knapp said. "Twinsburg played us 3-2 and they’re a five seed. One through six, seven could win this district. Anything can happen in the district."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.