Hudson boys soccer shows class in win over CVCA
CUYAHOGA FALLS — If one judged a match solely on the coaches' poll, the game between Hudson and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy boys soccer should have been even.
Both Hudson and CVCA were ranked ninth in the Sept. 28 Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association poll, with Hudson ranked No. 9 in Division I and CVCA No. 9 in Division II.
That said, any coach will say polls mean nothing on the field. When the two teams met Oct. 3 at Royals Stadium, Hudson made it clear early this would not be an even contest.
Hudson's offense came in waves, as the Explorers dominated play in a 4-0 victory over the Royals.
Hudson improved to 10-1 on the season, while CVCA dropped to 4-3-3.
Hudson coach Steve Knapp said his team put forth a solid effort on both sides.
"There were good stretches of play and they were times when we lost focus a little, but we did what we needed to," Knapp said. "It's always good scoring early.
Knapp said the game was a good example of how Hudson's offense can be varied.
"We don't have one guys who scores all our goals," Knapp said. "If someone is having an off day, we have a lot of guys who can pick him up."
Meanwhile, CVCA coach Angelo Finelli noted his team's effort was solid, but the young Royals made too many errors to win.
"You can't make mistakes against a team like Hudson and expect to win," Finelli said. "They has so many weapons that can beat you. We started two seniors tonight.
"We try to play teams that make us better. We will get better after this, because it shows what we have to work on. They're very athletic all over the field."
The offensive star of the night for Hudson was sophomore Tyler Travis, though he benefited from some good fortune on his first goal.
In the fifth minute, Travis send a high shot on net from just inside the box. CVCA goaltender Carson Young got both hands on it, but the ball went through his hands and into the net.
"As a sophomore, Travis has grown so much since last year, mentally and physically," Knapp said.
Finelli notes one tough moment for Young didn't diminish his presence for the Royals.
"We have great trust in Carson," Finelli said. "When you're a defender or goaltender, your mistakes get magnified."
Young bounced back by making nine saves on the night, including several diving stops to keep the Royals in the contest.
However, the Royals could do nothing to stop Hudson forward Ben Hokpins in the 11th minute.
Driving towards the net down the right side of the field, Hopkins' initial shot was blocked off the line by the CVCA defense. But Hopkins was able to flip the ball up and over Young to make it 2-0.
"That was all Ben Hopkins right there," Knapp said. "That was a thing of beauty."
CVCA was able to stop the bleeding from there, but the Royals often found themselves pushed back by Hudson's possession game. Finelli admitted his team's 4-3-3 formation often looked like a 4-5-1 due the contant pressure on the flanks from Hudson.
In the end, CVCA managed only one shot on goal in the game, as Hudson finished with a 13-1 edge.
"Defensively, It was a solid game," Knapp said. "Our center backs did a great job handling their pressure and our holding midfielders did a great job keeping things clear."
Travis made it 3-0 for the Explorers just before halftime. After the Explorers stole the ball in the Royals end, Travis unleashed another powerful high shot from just inside the box, giving Young no chance to save it in the 39th minute.
CVCA attempted to press forward early in the second half, but found themselves vulnerable on the counterattack.
In the 46th minute, Travis nearly got his hat trick, but a slow shot to the right was stopped by a diving save by Young.
However, Young could only parry the ball right into the path of Ben Hallis and the Explorers' captain tapped the ball into make it 4-0.