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 5-1-1 in the Suburban League National Conference. Twinsburg, which dropped to 8-5-2, finished 3-3-1 in the conference.
"It was a good game, a clean game," 28th-year Tigers head coach Mike Lally said. "Both sides know each other from club. It was fun; it was a good match. I like the style Hudson plays. We’re normally not as defensive-minded, but against a team like that, you kind of have to be."
Twinsburg struck first when senior midfielder 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.
"He doesn’t score ordinary goals," Lally said of Schneeman. "Three of his goals have been brilliant."
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.
"It was a brilliant run," Lally said of Strawbridge’s goal. "Kudos to him. We don’t give up a lot of goals, so that was quality."
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.
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.
"The core of the team is seniors, but a lot of the players are young," Lally said. "Matches like this are really important for those guys to play teams like Hudson and play well. They did a great job, but our seniors played big."
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.
"We scored a really nice corner-kick restart goal," Lally said. "They scored a really nice corner-kick. Those are things that we work on every day. It’s great that we got a goal, but we probably need to work a little harder to make sure that doesn’t happen."
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.
"There were good moments for us," Lally said. "We thought our midfield did a good job bearing with them. Senior forward Connor Gantous was very good up top for us. Sophomore midfielder Uleto Fuentes, our attacking mid, was very dangerous. He got fouled a lot and got us restarts."
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.
"It’s a very open district," Lally said. "Those early playoff rounds are not going to be easy."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.