Following his team's trip to Nordonia Sept. 26, Stow-Munroe Falls girls soccer coach Nate Rausch was not a happy man.
For the second straight time, the Bulldogs' trip to Macedonia ended in unusual circumstances. This time, a faulty light tower at Boliantz Stadium forced the game to be called by the officials at halftime, leaving Stow to settle for a 0-0 draw.
Rausch noted his team could not find the back of the net against the Knights, despite dominating possession.
"It was a weird situation for us," Rausch said. "We create tons of chances, we just could not score."
By contrast, Cuyahoga Falls was coming off its biggest win of the Scot Etling Era: A 10-0 rout of Akron Garfield Sept. 24 at Laybourne Field.
Falls got goals from Isabel Barton, Ashley Miller, Hannah Lynch, Leslie Sawyer, Katlin Wilson, Katie Robison, Molly Strausser and Emily Stratton in the win.
"To the girls' credit, we tried not to run up the score, because we've been in that situation before," Etling said. "It just got to the point where everything that we kicked went in the net."
Thus, the two rivals came into the game with opposite emotions when they met Sept. 28 at Laybounre Field. However, it took less than 30 seconds for Stow to set the tone.
The Bulldogs got a goal in the first 27 seconds of the game from Theresa Parr and never looked back, running out to an 8-0 win over the Black Tigers.
Stow improved to 6-1-4, 2-1-2 in the Suburban League National Conference with the win, while Falls dropped to 2-6-2, 0-5 in the National Conference with the loss.
Parr's initial goal came off of a tap in following a nice run from Emily Andrassy. It was just what the Bulldogs needed, according to Rausch.
"It helps ease the nerves a bit when you're able to score early like that," Rausch said. "We were able to just work our game plan. Getting that early goal takes the pressure off."
Etling admitted just about everything that could go wrong did for the Black Tigers. He noted Falls has been outscored 91-1 by National Conference foes in the last two seasons.
"We told the kids to play compact in the middle of the field," Etling said. "You don't want to play from front to back against a team like Stow because of their speed. It is what it is. We're doing fine outside the league. Inside the league, we're trying to be competitive, but we just haven't gotten there."
A former goaltender for Cuyahoga Falls, Rausch saw his team completely dominate possession on a rainy night at Laybourne.
Stow finished with a 26-0 edge in shots on goal and a 7-0 edge in corner kicks.
Falls starting goaltender Erin Huber finished with 14 saves, while backup keeper Rachel Smith had three saves. Stow's goalkeeping tandem of Amanda Holocker and Kieran Smith didn't need to make a save to preserve the shutout.
Stow made it 2-0 in the fifth minute when midfielder Sophia Boris put home a square ball from Andrassy.
In the 18th minute, Boris turned provider for Stow, as she found senior captain Hannah Riddle, who put a lofted shot into the low corner of the net.
It could have been worse for Falls in the first half, but Huber made some quality saves and got some help when her defense cleared a shot off the line. Stow hit the post in the first half.
Up 3-0 at halftime, Stow really opened the game up early in the second half.
In the 42nd minute, Parr hit a high shot from a tight angle, which flew over Huber and into the net.
The floodgates opened on Falls in the 52nd minute, as Andrassy scored two goals in a 30-second period.
Boris then made it 7-0 with a goal off a long run in the 54th minute.
Both teams emptied their benches in the final 20 minutes, but Stow got one more goal from freshman Jane Freeman in the 73rd minute.
Etling said the result indicated how much further his team has to go.
"It's systemic," Etling said. "It all starts at the youth league level. We've had to start at square one with some of these girls at the varsity level, which isn't fair to them."
Rausch said his team can still be a factor in this year's National Conference race.
"We need some magic to happen, but if we win out, we have a chance to get it done," Rausch said. "Finishing in the top three would be excellent."
Stow had a full week off and will return to action Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Brecksville-Broadview Heights.