HUDSON: The giant-killer role suited Hudson well just four days earlier, but a repeat performance did not occur Saturday afternoon at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
Fresh off a victory over top-ranked Twinsburg, Hudson could not solve the impenetrable defense of No. 2-ranked Walsh Jesuit, which captured the Kent Division I district title 2-0 in brisk, blustery conditions.
A first-half goal proved to be enough, and Walsh (16-0-3) added another early in the second as the Warriors advanced to a regional semifinal against Jackson at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Revere High School.
Twinsburg had earned the No. 1 spot in the coaches poll following an unbeaten regular season but was probably betrayed by the lack of a postseason resume in a 4-0 defeat Tuesday. Not so for Walsh, which owns a record six state championships, including last year’s Division II title.
That experience showed against the No. 7-ranked Explorers, who found themselves trailing in the 13th minute of the match on senior midfielder Maddy Anzelc’s angled shot from the right side of the box into the left corner of the net.
“They’re [Hudson] a very good team,” Walsh coach Dino McIntyre said. “Unfortunately for them today, we were on it. Every ball that was scribbling and rolling off of a deflection, seamlessly, aimlessly we were there first. That’s pretty much what it boils down to.”
Gusty winds swirled throughout the afternoon, but McIntyre said it didn’t affect the quality of play that much.
“I thought it would make much more of a difference but it really didn’t,” he said. “Every pass we made was educated. When we dumped it to the forwards, we played it low enough to where the wind would not take its course. The wind was not a factor for either team or either half.”
Still, that was not a unanimous opinion among the participants as Hudson coach Costa Kalorides pointed out.
“The first half was a little difficult with the wind,” Kalorides said. “The weather I think played a little bit of an issue, but overall we played hard but not necessarily as efficient as we needed to be. We had some opportunities in the first half to either tie it up or go ahead but we were not as composed as we could have been in finishing.”
Anzelc was the only one to finish successfully in the first half, off an assist by senior midfielder Jessica Hlosek.
“It was all kind of in slow motion,” Anzelc said. “The ball just popped out of the box and it was bouncing in slow motion and I just volleyed it to the left-side corner of the goal. It just kind of changed the momentum our way because we both came out really ready to play. As soon as we scored that, we just got even more pumped up.”
After backpedaling for much of the first half, Hudson (14-3-2) found itself on the attacking end during the last few minutes before intermission. But any momentum the Explorers might have gained evaporated quickly.
Just 3½ minutes into the second half, a cross from the right side by senior Alex Kitchcart found sophomore midfielder Christina Trickett, who spun left in the box and blasted a left-foot shot from out front into the right corner past Hudson goalkeeper Sarah L’Hommedieu.
“Kitchart had an amazing cross and I felt the girl on my backside,” Trickett said. “So I just turned and finished it.”
Seniors Emily Rogers and Kaitlyn Semelsberger and sophomore Gabby LoPresti were standouts on defense for the Warriors.
Walsh had eight shots on goal out of a total 12 shots, and held Hudson to six shots, three on goal. L’Hommedieu, a sophomore who has been a starter for two years, made six saves. Walsh sophomore Lauren Demarchi made three saves to earn the shutout.
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