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Twinsburg girls soccer tops former coach in win over Hudson

by Frank Aceto Associate Sports Editor Published: October 5, 2016 12:00 AM
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Twinsburg -- He went back to a familiar place and saw some familiar people.

But Hudson first-year head girls soccer coach Chris Gentille was oblivious to such things.

Unfortunately for Gentille, he wasn't oblivious to the final result.

That's because his former team got the best of him and his Lady Explorers.

The Lady Tigers improved to 6-4-2 overall and 2-2-1 in the Suburban League National Conference after defeating Hudson 2-0 Sept. 28 on the road.

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Gentille returned to Twinsburg for the first time after being hired as the Lady Explorers head coach during the summer.

Gentille had spent the previous five years as the Lady Tigers head coach.

Gentille wasn't in a sentimental mood before, during or after the game.

"It's just another game," he said. "We did not play well. Give Twinsburg credit. They were aggressive for 80 minutes."

In Gentille's defense, Hudson (5-4-2) hasn't had a full deck the entire season.

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Already missing senior forward Morgan Widdoes and junior midfielder/forward Lucy Marshall to season-ending injuries, the Lady Explorers also were missing sophomore forward Jordan Manley due to illness.

On top of that, junior forward/midfielder Grace Killeen was ill and played limited minutes.

The Lady Tigers, on the other hand, were very efficient on the attack and absolutely stingy on defense.

Twinsburg had possession much of the evening and got a goal apiece in each half.

"All our league games are difficult," Lady Tigers' first-year head coach John Garber said. "That's what makes our league so great. Hudson has a rich program history. It's a great rivalry."

Twinsburg got on the board a little more than nine minutes into the game.

After Lady Explorers' freshman goalie Lillian Morgan made a long run out of her own net to knock down a long shot by the Lady Tigers, the ball went right to Ana Cleveland.

Twinsburg senior striker gathered the ball and lofted a high-arching shot with her left foot over Morgan and into an empty net.

Cleveland had just missed an opportunity earlier in the game.

"It was good for Ana to score after missing a close one," Garber said. "I'm glad that she was able to maintain her confidence."

The Lady Tigers struck again with a little less than 15 minutes remaining in the game.

Junior striker Alyssa Troyer got the ball near the right sideline. After a few dribbles, Troyer sent a pass to the middle of Hudson's penalty box.

The ball landed at the right foot of sophomore striker/midfielder Alyssa Kleinman, who blasted the shot into the lower right corner of the net on a volley.

At that point, the Lady Explorers, who had several turnovers and couldn't find any offensive rhythm throughout the game, were in too deep of a hole to recover.

"Hudson is very difficult to play against," Garber said. "We play a float-back four and one of our center backs always stepped up against their strikers. It was very important to not let them turn when they had the ball. Our center backs are responsible for covering space."

While Gentille downplayed his return to his old stomping grounds, Garber believes his players felt the Hudson-Twinsburg matchup Sept. 28 was more than just a conference game.

"I think there was some motivation," Garber said. "Chris had a lot of success here. It's always wonderful to represent your community, family and friends in a game like this."

The Lady Tigers had a 12-4 advantage in shots on goal and a 6-1 edge in corner kicks.

Morgan made 10 saves on the night, including two full-extension dives to her right to knock down hard shots from close range.

Twinsburg junior goalie Ally Zenda made four saves.

The Lady Tigers are scheduled to entertain National Conference rival Twinsburg Oct. 5. They are set to visit Solon Oct. 8. Both contests are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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