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Stow boys soccer falls to Walsh Jesuit in opener

by Michael Leonard Sports Editor Published: August 28, 2016 12:00 AM
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For the first five minutes of the game, it looked like Walsh Jesuit was going to blow Stow-Munroe Falls boys soccer away.

The Warriors were in attack mode and an undermanned Stow squad looked to have no answers.

After that early period, however, Stow was able to settle in. While they couldn't find an equalizer, the Bulldogs do have something to build on.

Walsh made a fourth-minute goal stand up for a 1-0 win Aug. 23 at Kissner Field, but never was able to put Stow away.

Walsh improved to 1-1 on the season, while Stow dropped to 0-1.

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Stow came into the contest a bit short-handed as senior midfielders Hayden Baer and Frano Katalinic each were sidelined due to concussion symptoms.

"We missed their experience for sure," said Stow coach Kyle Kosmala. "We had seven guys starting for the first time."

The Warriors were on the attack from the opening kickoff, wanting to press the issue.

"We created chances a lot," said Walsh coach Scott Zackaroff. "We've been playing stressing playing a bit more direct. In a rivalry game against a team like Stow, we know the first goal could be the one that wins it."

Walsh put a couple shots on net in the first few minutes before the breakthrough came in the fourth minute off a corner kick.

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A short kick was played to the top of the box, where midfielder Connor Williams fed a square pass to forward Nick Labbe. Labbe blasted a one-time shot into the far net to make it 1-0.

It looked like Walsh was headed for a blowout, but the Bulldogs were slowly able to get back in the contest.

"I liked the way we tried to possess the ball after the goal," Kosmala said. "The effort was spectacular because we know the quality that Walsh has."

While Walsh continued to have a possession advantage, Stow's defense allowed only one more shot on goal in the first half.

Stow's best performance of the night might have come from goaltender Spencer Raymond-Smith. The Bulldog junior finished with six saves and cut out several crosses.

"He had a nice game against [Walsh] last year and I think he played great again," Kosmala said.

Stow had more of the ball in the second half, but never managed to get a shot on goal. The Bulldogs' best scoring chance came in the 37th minute when senior midfielder Cam Casenhiser ran around a pair of Walsh defenders, only to see his shot trickle wide of the goal. Walsh goaltender Aydan Shepard did not need to make a save in order get the shutout.

Walsh finished with a 7-0 edge in shots on goal, but could not find the second tally.

"If we can't put a team away like Stow, they're going to have the last say in the game and that's what happened," Zackaroff said.

Stow managed to get some corner kicks in the final 10 minutes of the game, but their attempts on goal were either blocked by Walsh defenders or went wide.

Walsh had a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.

Stow was set to host Woodridge Aug. 27, but results were not available at press time. The Bulldogs will open their Suburban League National Conference schedule by hosting Wadsworth Aug. 30 before playing Uniontown Lake at home Sept. 1. Kickoff time both nights is at 7 p.m.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

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