TWINSBURG — Tiger Stadium was a jungle Tuesday night.
At least that’s what is felt like when Twinsburg and Cuyahoga Falls boys soccer met to open their respective Suburban League National Conference slates.
With temperatures hovering around 90, the two sets of Tigers did well to play a spirited game.
Twinsburg got an early goal and was able to limit Falls’ chances, as Twinsburg scored a 2-0 win.
Twinsburg moved to 1-2, 1-0 in the National Conference, while Falls dropped to 1-1, 0-1 in the National Conference.
While he wishes his team had been a bit sharper in front of goal, Twinsburg coach Mike Lally was generally happy.
“We missed a couple of sitters and open headers,” Lally said. “We’ve got to be better than that. I like the way we worked. In the Suburban League, three points (a win) are like gold. There are no easy games and everyone is well coached.”
Falls coach Eric Ortopan said his team needed to be sharper on offense as well.
“Early goals can be tough to overcome, but I don’t think the goal represented the balance of the first half,” Ortopan said. “I think it was an even first half. It was a great game. I don’t think we did a good job sniffing out our offensive opportunities.
“They’re a very disciplined team, but they weren’t the reason we struggled,” Ortopan added. “We were our own worst enemy tonight.”
Early on, Twinsburg forwards Bryce Woods and Jon Szydlowksi each looked dangerous, but Twinsburg got both of its goals on a night from its starting left back.
After not scoring in its first two games, the Tigers found the net in the fifth minute. Woods took a corner kick and put the ball into the six-yard box. Junior defender Connor Gantous got to the loose ball and poked it past Falls goalie Tanner Guffin to make it 1-0.
“Our defense played well today,” Lally said. “I don’t think Falls got too much.”
Twinsburg finished with a 6-2 edge in shots on goal, but Guffin kept Falls in the game in the first half, as he made a diving save to rob Szylowski of a goal in the 38th minute.
Guffin, who was making his season debut, finished with four saves. Twinsburg also put a couple of clear-cut scoring chances over the cross bar.
“In the second half, we had the flow of the game in the first 15 minutes,” Ortopan said. “That part of the game we played well. The game started to get away from us after that. That’s how they were able to get their second goal.
Falls’ best chance of the game in the 48th minute after it earned its first corner kick of the game. Twinsburg cleared the initial kick, but the ball came back in the box.
Falls’ Logan Webb hit a beautiful diving header, only to be robbed of a goal by Twinsburg goaltender Jacob Pruett. Pruett finished with two saves to get the shutout.
In the 59th minute, Twinsburg made it 2-0 off a free kick from the left side.
Senior Jack Benak took the kick and Gantous got his second goal of the night, this time heading the ball into the back of the net.
“We lost the battle of set pieces tonight,” Ortopan said. “Twinsburg has got some big boys and was able to take advantage of them.”
After the second goal, Falls seemed to be trapped in its own end of the field for the last 20 minutes of the game. However, Gantous’ goal proved to be only shot on goal after halftime for Twinsburg.
Twinsburg finished with a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.
“We tried to go a little deeper in out bench tonight,” Lally said. “We had some sophomores and freshman set up for us.”