HUDSON — When they met the previous time, they played a scintillating 80 minutes that featured an abundance of twists and turns.
Not this time. There was no such drama when they renewed acquaintances Wednesday.
As a matter of fact, round two turned out to be very much one-sided.
Unfortunately for the members of the Twinsburg boys soccer team, they were on the wrong end of it.
Top-seeded Hudson earned its eight consecutive district final appearance after cruising past the fifth-seeded Tigers 4-1 Wednesday. The Solon Division I district semifinal contest took place at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
With the victory, the Explorers (11-4-3) earned a date with second-seeded Solon in the Division I district title match.
Hudson, which earned a hard-fought 3-2 win over Twinsburg earlier this month on the road, dictated the pace from start to finish.
"They’re a really good team," longtime Twinsburg head coach Mike Lally said. "We felt we needed to play a perfect game to beat them and we didn’t get that done in the first half.
"There’s a lot of talent on that side of the ball. We respect them a lot. They’re well-coached. They play attacking, good positive football."
Hudson, which led 3-0 at halftime, scored three of its goals on set pieces.
Leading the way was Skanda Moorthy. The standout midfielder/forward played a role in 75 percent of the Explorers’ goals.
Moorthy converted a penalty kick late in the first half and then found the net again after poking a corner kick by junior forward Pete Strawbridge into the net from point-blank range. Moorthy’s latter tally gave Hudson a just about insurmountable 4-0 advantage.
Moorthy also had an assist on junior center midfielder Ben Hallis’ goal, which made it 2-0 with a little more than 10 minutes left in the first half. Once Hallis got the ball, he showed some nifty footwork to find more space on the left side before drilling a line drive into the net with his left foot.
"I thought Hallis scored a great goal," Lally said. "Skanda is really hard to mark. He’s very mobile. They’re good players. They’re probably some of the best players we played all year."
Senior center back Peyton Koscho also capitalized on a set piece. He had a near miss on a previous set piece too.
Koscho got his head on a long free kick by junior defender Caleb Junko. Koscho’s header hit the post, but he got another chance some three minutes later.
This time, Strawbridge took a direct kick from close to 40 yards. Koscho made his opportunity count as he headed Strawbridge’s chip into the net for the Explorers’ first goal nearly 15 minutes into the match.
"We gave up a pretty soft goal on a restart," Lally said. "You can’t do that against a team like Hudson. We had to do a little better than that.
"It’s awful difficult to come back against a team with that firepower. We made some mistakes in all facets of the game. They outplayed us [Wednesday]."
The Tigers (11-6-2), on the other hand, didn’t have any answers for Hudson’s array of playmakers. Hudson, utilizing its usual short-passing game, controlled possession much of the way.
Down three goals, Twinsburg went into attack mode for much of the second half.
The Tigers finally got a goal when senior forward Connor Gantous got free on the left side. His cross was deflected, but the ball landed near junior midfielder Ian Rader’s feet. Rader, who gathered the ball inside the Explorers’ penalty box, easily converted from the middle of the field.
"I was really glad we got a goal," Lally said. "I thought Connor Gantous made a great run. I’m happy for Connor. He’s a good player."
Twinsburg had a few opportunities deep in Hudson’s end late in the match, but it couldn’t pull the trigger.
The Explorers had a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks and a 6-2 edge in shots on goal.
"Things got a little better for us in the second half," Lally said. "We changed our shape and we pressed a little bit more. We had some looks at the goal, but that opens you up for them to play into more space."
The Tigers battled injuries throughout the season. The seniors may have been most vulnerable to the array of aches and pains.
Twinsburg’s Class of 2020 comprised Gantous, whose 14 goals was one shy of the school record for a single season, forwards Joey Cusma and Aidan Smith; midfielders Emmerson Schneeman, Ricky DiTurno and Nick Lesko; and defender Jaylon Hunt.
"We had some guys that were dinged up and played injured all year," Lally said. "Joey Cusma [forward] did; Aidan Smith [forward] did. We had to platoon them just to keep them in the games. They gutted that out.
"Guys like Emerson Scheeman [midfielder] and Rick DiTurno [midfielder] really stepped up. Jaylon Hunt [defender] and Nick Lesko [midfielder] stepped in and did a really good job. Both those guys played hurt all year."
Lally certainly appreciated his seniors’ work ethic and resilience. They also held themselves and their younger teammates accountable throughout the season.
"They didn’t let the younger guys make excuses," Lally said. "They held us to a high standard in training. They’re just great guys to be around."
Lally certainly didn’t like to see another season end prematurely. At the same time, though, the 28th-year can appreciate what his team accomplished.
"We knew going in, this was going to be kind of a rebuilding year," Lally said. "Boy, to be seventh in Cleveland and get 11 wins and to make it to the district semis, I’m very pleased."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.