STOW — It its first week of the season, Stow-Munroe Falls boys lacrosse experienced a bit of a feast or famine situation.
The Bulldogs lost 13-0 to Walsh Jesuit at home March 18, but rebounded with 10-0 win over Willoughby South March 21.
Back at it after taking a week off for spring break, Stow was able to play a competitive match at home Tuesday — and came away the victor.
Five unanswered goals in the middle of the match paved the way for an 11-9 win for the Bulldogs over Uniontown Lake. The Blue Streaks attempted to rally with three goals in the fourth quarter, but Stow (3-1) was able to hang on.
Bulldogs coach Carl Dyer said the victory was a quality one for his young squad.
"We’re very young in a lot of key places," Dyer said, noting Stow started two freshman at attack. "Our goal is to keep getting better this year every game. I think we did that tonight."
One area Stow dominated was in face-offs, particularly in the first half. The Bulldogs had a 12-1 edge in face-offs in the first half and finished with a 16-7 edge in the circle.
That led to Stow earning a possession edge in the first half. The Bulldogs were able to turn that edge into the game’s first goal, as junior Max Simms tipped a loose ball in the goal crease past Lake goalie Justin Gregory.
Simms finishes with two goals, two assists and three ground balls on the night.
Lake would score the next three goals, as a pair of scores from Ethan Gullett at the 6:47 and 4:20 marks sandwiched a goal from from the Blue Streaks’ Joe Ellison with 5:15 left. Ellison and Gullett each would score three goals in the game.
Stow responded with two goals in the last minute of the first quarter. Simms scored his second goal of the contest with 41 seconds left with a nifty move from behind the goals. Freshman Jackson Bell then tied the game with 15 seconds left in the first quarter, putting on home from a tight angle on the left side of net.
Stow took a 4-3 win junior captain Patrick Kline scored off the opening face-off in the second quarter, but Lake responded with a goal from Gavin Welch with 7:37 left.
Stow then took control of the contest with five straight goal, as the Bulldogs’ used their transition game to perfection.
The central figure in the Bulldogs’ spurt was senior captain Declan Tubbs. Tubbs gave Stow the lead for good with 5:47 left in the first half, as he scored on man advantage.
Tubbs was all over the field for Stow, finishing with four goals on 10 shots with 11 ground balls, all of which was game highs.
"He’s definitely our team leader," Dyer said. "Declan can take over a game when he wants to."
Tubb was denied by Gregory at the four minute mark, but Kline was to put the rebound in to make it 6-4.
Stow’s captains then combined to end the first half on a perfect note, as Kline found Tubbs open in the crease and Tubbs scored with 12 second left, giving Stow a 7-4 lead at half.
"We have two very strong midfield units," Dyer said.
Kline finished with three goals and seven ground balls in the win, as he opened the second half with a goal off a ground ball.
Stow gots its biggest lead at 11-4 with 8:37 left in the third quarter off a transition goal. Simms ran through the center of field and found freshman Drew Gosselin open for a goat.
Lake stopped the run with goals from Ellison and Gullett, but Tubbs would answer with two goals late in the third quarter. Tubbs’ last was the best of the bunch, as he spun through a pair of Blue Streak defenders and shot high to score with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Up 11-6 heading into the fourth quarter, Dyer told his troops to keep the pressure on.
"We told the kids our best defense was keeping the ball in the offensive end," Dyer said. "We played really good defense in the fourth quarter."
Stow was able to kill off half of the fourth quarter, before a quick pair of goals with just over five minutes left gave Lake hope.
However, Stow goaltender Hunter Geiger made several nice saves down the stretch and Lake hurt itself with a late slashing penalty. Geiger finished with 15 saves on the night.
Ellison was would get his third goal as time expired, but it served only to close down the final margin.
Stow finished with a 39-34 edge in shots. Gregory finished with 13 saves for the Blue Streaks.
Stow was set to travel to Canfield Thursday at 7 p.m. and Fairview Saturday at noon.
The Bulldogs will return home to face Green Tuesday and Berea-Midpark Thursday. Varsity game time for both contests is at 7:15 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_RPC