Pandemic spoils lacrosse season for nine talented Hudson seniors

FRANK ACETO Reporter
Former Hudson attacker Maggie Palumbo (5) attempts to reach the against Chagrin Falls' Avery Houston and Bella Dalessandro (2) last season. Palumbo, a 2020 Hudson graduate, finished with 142 career points for the Explorers.

It’s a simple question that everyone hates to ask.

“What if?”

Kyra Maludy joined this two-word club nearly two months ago — even if she didn’t sign up for it.

“I’ve had many sleepless nights,” Maludy said.

Maludy may not sleep well until possibly next spring. That’s because her favorite team recently experienced a horrifying nightmare.

And waking up hasn’t done the trick.

Due to a deadly respiratory tract infection known as COVID-19, the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled the entire season for spring sports.

Maludy, the Explorers head girls lacrosse coach since 2019, certainly understood that such a decision had to be made.

That didn’t make her feel any better, though.

“On senior recognition night, I cried,” Maludy said. “We had players who had been together for three years and they didn’t get a senior season. It was heartbreaking for me.”

It was particularly distressing since Hudson had the potential to do something really special.

The Explorers, who have reached the state semifinals eight times in their storied history, finished 14-4 last season after falling to Jackson 12-10 in the Division I, Region 2 title match.

Maludy strongly believed the 2020 squad could get over the hump and possibly compete for a state championship.

Why?

Having nine talented seniors back in the mix may have had something to do with it.

This group included Hudson’s top goal scorer. Maggie Palumbo, a four-year varsity player, may have had a shot to reach 200 career points if the season would have taken place.

The former attacker finished with 142 career points after racking up 96 goals and 46 assists. She also had 30 takeaways and seven interceptions.

The Explorers’ other four-year players are Sarah Hinkle, a midfielder who plans to continue her academic and lacrosse careers at the University of Tampa, and Mia Becker, a defensive midfielder who would have seen more time on the attack during the spring.

Hinkle, a two-year captain who won the Ray Hyser Award recently, finished her career with 69 goals, 15 assists, 139 ground balls, 75 draw controls and nine interceptions.

Becker, who plans to continue her academic and lacrosse careers at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, finished with nine goals, three assists, 106 ground balls, 74 takeaways, 17 draw controls and 10 interceptions.

Cameron Rohwedder, Lily Edwards, Emily Dunne and Faith Donatelli were three-year varsity standouts for Hudson.

Rohwedder, a defender, finished with 40 ground balls, 40 interceptions and two goals.

Edwards, a midfielder, finished with 18 goals, four assists, 43 ground balls, 22 takeaways and 21 draw controls.

Dunne, an attacker, had 16 goals, five assists, 35 ground balls, 14 takeaways and two draw controls.

Donatelli, a defender who was a team captain, finished with 19 ground balls, 14 takeaways and three draw controls.

Addie Judson and Maddy Liedel were two-year varsity players for the Explorers.

Judson, a goalie, finished with 104 saves, nine takeaways and two ground balls last year. She hoped to play lacrosse in college. Unfortunately, she won’t have that opportunity since her college choice, Taylor University, a private, interdenominational, evangelical Christian College in Upland, Indiana, eliminated its women’s lacrosse program in March.

“Addie has a positive personality,” Maludy said. “You barely ever see her hang her head. She wants her teammates to give their best.

“Since I was a goalie, I definitely have a special bond with my goalies. Her first year of JV [junior varsity] was a struggle for her. Last year, it was like night and day. She just blew it out of the water.”

Liedel, an attacker, finished with four ground balls and three total points.

With this kind of firepower, Maludy believed her team had a chance to go somewhere no Hudson team had reached in previous years.

Instead, a constant, annoying two-word phrase just won’t leave her head.

“It was a pretty big blow,” said Maludy, who was an assistant coach with the team in 2018. “I watched the nine seniors grow. We really improved from last year to this year. We were starting to see it come together.

“I just wish we had one more chance. If it was going to happen, it would have been this team.”

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, faceto@recordpub.com or @Faceto_Gannett.