Stow-Munroe Falls boys soccer had to run a bit of a guantlet to start the season
"We just finished playing five games in 11 days," said Stow coach Kyle Kosmala. "I’m glad to be done with it."
The good news was Stow came out of that stretch with a winning record — including a big win over their big red rivals.
On Thursday, Stow won its second straight Battle of the Bulldogs, as it traveled to Green and won 4-2. Stow got two goals from Travis Shrout, a headed goal from Tristen Mattson and long rocket of a goal from Nathan Kolke in the win.
However, Stow played host to Anthony Wayne and lost 4-2 Saturday in what Kosmala said was a disappointing performance.
"We were down 2-0 at the half," Kosmala said. "We came back to tie it, but they scored two on us. We didn’t play very strong. They were very efficient. I think they had about five shots on goal and four went in.
"We certainly made them look good. And they made us pay, which is what good teams will do."
Thus, Stow had to look to turn the momentum around against Suburban League National Conference foe Wadsworth Tuesday at the Stow Soccer Stadium. The Bulldogs did just that, taking an early 2-0 lead and hanging on for a 2-1 win.
"Last year, what did us in is they jumped on us early and were able to hold the momentum," Kosmala said. "We kind of turned the tables on them and we scored two right away."
Stow took the lead just three minutes into the game, thanks to a nice cross from senior Kyle Sommer. The speedster found Corey Hunt open in the box and Hunt put it home to make it 1-0.
In the 10th minute, a long pass from senior defender Logan Spath allowed Shrout to get free in the box and Shrout scored to make it 1-0.
Kosmala said Shrout has come into his own this season.
"He’s one of those guys that can play every offensive position we have," Kosmala said. "He puts his nose into places where it doesn’t belong and when he does, good things happen. He’s good at creating in the final third."
Just when Stow looked to have the momentum, Wadsworth was able to get a goal back in the 15th minute.
"They had two corner kicks in a row," Kosmala said. "We did a good job defending the first one, but they had a really nice service on the second. The final guy on the back post ended up getting the goal."
Aiden Mendel scored the goal for the Grizzlies.
From there, the game was a slog, as temperatures around 90 tested both squads.
"We used a lot of bodies," Kosmala said. "A lot of the guys who came off the bench gave us a lot of effort."
In the end, neither team was able to find the goal again. Shots on goal were even a 8-8, as were corner kicks at 5-5. Stow goaltender Chris Miller came up with eight saves on the night.
Kosamala lauded his team for what he called "our best defensive effort of the season,"
They have Kai Wagner. Caleb Benci did a great job on him," Kosmala said. "Chris Miller and Logan (Spath) each had great games. Logan really set the tempo for us out of the back."
"We had a few nice opportunities in the second half that we generated. It would have been nice to get that third goal, but I’m glad out defense held up."
Stow had a few days off before it was set to take on backyard Kent Roosevelt Saturday at 7 p.m. Kosmala said the game is set to take place at the Stow Soccer Stadium, but may move to Bulldog Stadum if weather conditions deterorate.
"It usually turns into one of those games," Kosmala said of the Roosevelt contest. "We’ve got to be ready for a defensive struggle."
Stow returns to National Conference action when it hosts Nordonia Tuesday at the Stow Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC