BROOKSVILLE — Short-handed Hudson threw Class 3A, District 7 into a four-team tizzy with a 2-1 defeat of Nature Coast on Friday.
The Cobras were without four starters, with 22-goal scorer Dominique Cirnigliaro among those a club tournament in Atlanta.
“We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores out there,” said Hudson coach Stephen Jones. “Tonight I’m proud of the composure they showed. That was something we were missing earlier in the season.”
Nature Coast (9-2-1) came into the night leading the district, and entering the week Hudson was well outside the top three. Now Fivay and Springstead are tied for first, with the Sharks and Cobras a mere point back.
“Right now it definitely seems like with the top four, it’s a tossup,” said Nature Coast coach Lisa Masserio.
Hudson (11-4-1) got stellar play in the back, especially from sophomores Kayla Canton and Alexa Gernand, neutralizing Sharks senior forward Hailey Lalande much of the night. Lalande did score her team’s only goal, taking a pass from Lisa Soehngen and blasting it in from 20 yards after Hudson had gone up 2-0 in the first half.
Then as Nature Coast desperately pushed forward in the last eight minutes Lalande had several chances, one a stunning left-footed effort from a tough angle that missed the upper left by inches. But outside of that Hudson had far more opportunities, outshooting the
Sharks 19-10. Freshman Cassidy Rux had a good five chances to put the game away herself.
Rux’s first breakaway chance did lead to a goal, however, as she was taken down in the penalty box, and Nicole Staley converted from the spot in the 13th minute. Caroline DiMonda made it 2-0.
It was a physical game throughout, frustrating at times for Nature Coast as it took two first-half cautions for retaliating. Both teams committed 10 fouls.
Nature Coast was missing its second-leading scorer, freshman Janya Tyler, also at a club event. And due to a family emergency Stephen Jones’ father Pat actually helmed the Cobras much of the way.
“It’s great having your dad as an assistant,” Stephen Jones said.