HUDSON — The Twinsburg girls soccer team won’t win a conference title this season.
But the Tigers still own Hudson.
Twinsburg earned a 3-0 victory over the host Explorers Thursday at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
Jadyn Harris scored twice and Allison King found the net once for the Tigers (12-2-1), who finished 5-1-1 in the Suburban League National Conference. Stow-Munroe Falls won the conference title with a 6-1 record. Hudson (5-7-2), which has had its share of injuries throughout the season, finished 2-4-1 in the National Conference.
"We had a hard time generating an attack at times," Explorers head coach Chris Gentille said. "When we play good teams in the playoffs hopefully, we’re going to have to be better than that for us to win. They [the Tigers] capitalized on our mistakes and that’s what good teams do."
Twinsburg scored two goals in a little less than seven minutes into the game.
Harris scored her second goal a little more than 10 minutes into the second half after a shot by King from the left side. King’s shot went off the hands of Hudson goalkeeper Mackenzie Pierce and right to Harris’ feet. Harris poked the ball into the net from point-blank range.
"I didn’t think we played a bad game," Gentille said. "I thought we really gift-wrapped them [the Tigers] three goals. Jadyn cleared up two balls that we should have kept in. When King scored, she just wanted it a little bit more than we did and got through.
"If we stop those plays there, I think it’s a different game, obviously."
While Pierce has given up her share of goals, she has filled in quite admirably for senior Lily Morgan, who saw her high school career end when she suffered a devastating knee injury earlier in the season.
"She’s doing great," Gentille said of Pierce. "[Thursday], she was a little upset with the two goals she let in. Overall, I think she has been pretty solid. She’s going to take the steps to train in the offseason to be that goalkeeper for us next year. I think she’ll be really good next year."
The Tigers had a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. Hudson had a 3-2 edge in corner kicks. Pierce and Twinsburg goalie Alexis Cellura finished with two saves apiece.
"We had some good looks on some free sets and some corner kicks, but we’re going to have to be better possession-wise in the midfield and the final third," Gentille said.
Thus far, the Explorers’ season hasn’t gone nearly as planned. Thanks to injuries to Morgan, Kierstin Havens, Demi Gutierrez and others, Hudson has struggled to find any type of rhythm.
However, the future does look very bright since the Explorers are loaded with underclassmen, including six freshmen.
"We return a pretty good team next year," Gentille said. "With the experience we’ve been going through, good or bad, with the injuries we’ve had to deal with this year, I think, come playoff time and as we move to next year, mentally, we’ll be tougher. I think we’ll be a little more prepared for some things if they don’t go right."
Gentille certainly isn’t ruling out the 2019 season. Although Hudson will be a heavy underdog in district play, the longtime coach knows anything can happen in the postseason.
"We can be a good team," Gentille said. "It just has to all come together. With the lack of repetition the girls have had with each other, that does make it hard. We just hope that these last games of the season gives us an opportunity to try to be better. That’s all we can ask for."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.