CUYAHOGA FALLS -- It was a tale of two road games for the Stow-Munroe Falls boys lacrosse team -- neither of which were pretty.
On April 8, the Bulldogs travelled to Erie, Pa., to take on McDowell High School and was thumped by the Trojans 15-1.
McDowell took a 7-1 lead at halftime and never looked back, as the Trojans finished with a 36-17 edge in shots on goal.
Sophomore Declan Tubbs scored Stow's lone goal in the second quarter and also led the Bulldogs with nine ground balls.
Then on April 11, Stow made the much shorter trip to Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, but was dealt and even bigger thumping.
CVCA was able to get its possession game working early and often, which snuffed out Stow's offense and led to a bevy of chances for the Royals. The result was an 18-4 win for CVCA.
CVCA improved to 5-2 as of press time, while Stow dropped to 3-3.
CVCA coach Rob Atwood said the game plan for the Royals to dominate possession worked perfectly.
"That's what we try to do," Atwood said. "If you don't have the ball, you can't score. Our face-off guys win a lot balls for us. We did have a lot of shots, but we need to do a better job finishing our chances."
Stow coach Carl Dyer said he expected a blitz from the Royals.
"They're a very senior-heavy team," Dyer said. "We knew they were going to be good on offense. They definitely were dominating the midfield and getting a lot of ground balls."
CVCA set the tone for the game by scoring three goals in the first five minutes. CVCA opened the contest when junior attack Ryan O'Connor put home a shot right in the crease, off a pass from midfielder Mitch Gilley with 9:14 left in the first.
O'Connor would score three goals off Gilley assists as he would finish with four goals and four assists on the night. Gilley also finished with four assists and two goals.
CVCA was just getting warmed up, as midfielder Dan DiBlasi scored with 8:32 left in the first and attack Noah DeSousa scored with 7:26 left in the first. DiBlasi and DeSousa each scored a hat trick for CVCA.
CVCA was just as staunch on the defensive end, as the Royals pressed the Bulldogs on both sides of the field and used a variety of stick checks to force ground balls.
Junior midfielder Owen Baker was the lone bright spot on the night for Stow. Baker ripped a shot home with 6:13 left in the first quarter to get Stow on the board, as he would account for all four Bulldog goals.
However, CVCA got back in front, thanks in large part to the work of junior face-off man Jack Atwood. The coach's son didn't lose a single face off in the first half, as CVCA finished with a 17-7 edge in face-offs wins.
Atwood scored CVCA's fourth goal with 4:54 left in the first quarter, followed quickly by Kade Kalinowski scoring with 4:40 left. CVCA led 5-1 after one quarter.
The second quarter was a carbon copy of the first, with CVCA outscoring Stow 5-1 with Baker getting Stow's lone goal at the 3:58 mark.
CVCA went into the locker room happy, as DiBlasi scored with just seven seconds left on the clock to make it 10-2 Royals at the half.
CVCA came out on fire after halftime, scoring four goals in the first 2:09 of the second half to invoke the running-clock rule. CVCA took a lead of 16-2 after three quarters.
Atwood emptied his bench in the fourth quarter, which slowed CVCA's onslaught. Baker scored with 10:28 and 8:41 left in the game to cut it to 16-4.
However, CVCA got goals from Issac Strausser with 6:57 left and John O'Connor with 1:20 left to reach the final margin.
CVCA finished with a huge edge in shots 49-15. The margin would have been larger in the first half if not for some nice saves from Stow goaltender Cole Washko, who finished with nine saves on the night. CVCA starting goaltender Jay Woodlee was credited with five saves.
"It's tough," Dyer said, as his team found itself on a three-game losing streak. "It's one game at a time for us. We just need to learn from this and get ready for [St. Vincent-St. Mary]."
Stow was set to travel to St. Vincent-St. Mary April 13, but results were not available at press time. The Bulldogs will travel to Green April 19 at 7:30 p.m.
As for the Royals, CVCA was set to host Uniontown Lake April 15, but results were not available at press time. The Royals will travel to Revere April 17 at 6 p.m.