STOW — Stow-Munroe Falls boys soccer has displayed its trademark drive throughout the season, but consistency has eluded the Bulldogs.
Both Stow coach Kyle Kosmala and senior Miles Thomas noted some early-season injuries caused the Bulldogs to juggle their lineups.
"We’ve been trying to find our best 11," Kosmala said. "We got all the guys back now."
If this week’s results are any indication, Stow is finding its mojo.
Following a 2-0 home win over Twinsburg Tuesday, Stow won its latest Battle of the Bulldogs with a 4-1 victory over Green Thursday at the Stow Soccer Stadium.
Stow improved to 6-3-3, 3-2 in the Suburban League National Conference.
Stow was dangerous all night in front of the net, as it finished with an 11-4 edge in shots on goal vs. Green.
"All that started with our defensive pressure, which was all over the field tonight," Kosmala said. "We were playing up-tempo and challenging everything."
Stow’s new configuration sees Thomas move into a midfield role, with sophomore Nyiles Spann moving into a central forward slot.
"I started this year on the wing and I wasn’t really getting enough touches," Thomas said. "Now I’m getting a lot more touches and I feel like I can help the offense."
"With Nyiles, we wanted to get him on varsity and start him at outside back, which is a simpler role," Kosmala said. "We thought he might be good to play at forward with his speed next year. He’s kind of accelerated that process."
On thing that hasn’t changed for Stow is senior forward Tristen Mattson attacking with impunity.
Mattson opened the scoring in the ninth minute. Caden Hayward served a corner kick into the box, which Green goalie Nathan Smith punched away. However, Mattson got to the ball on the back post and tucked it home with the outside of his foot.
In the 27th minute, Thomas hit an inch-perfect pass to Mattson in the box, which allowed Mattson to elude Smith and put the ball in the open net.
"Miles was spectacular tonight," Kosmala said. "He made some great passes and was all over the field."
In the 28th minute, forward Travis Shrout made a nice run down the right side and passed into the box. Thomas got off a shot, which took a perfect ricochet off midfielder Ethan Hearty and went into the net. Thomas was credited with the goal.
Green had its moments of pressure in the first half, but only managed one shot on net.
Green was able to pull back one goal in the 46th minute, thanks to a moment of brilliance from vice captain Jacob Woodling. After Green stole the ball in Stow’s end, Woodling lofted a curling shot that went just over the hand of Stow goalie Chris Miller and just under the crossbar to make it 3-1.
Green tried to make a game of it after the goal, but Thomas erased all doubt in the 66th minute.
Thomas corralled the ball near the center circle and charged to the top of the box before unleashing a shot. The ball deflected off a Green defender’s leg, but flew right into the net.
Thomas also had both goals for Stow in the win over Twinsburg, including a converted penalty kick.
Kosmala said he hoped his players could "be kids" over Homecoming weekend at Stow, but next for the Bulldogs is a showdown with arch rival Hudson Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Stow Soccer Stadium.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GHO