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For Stow-Munroe Falls boys soccer, effort finally produced results.
For Nordonia, it was another night of frustration.
Stow-Munroe Falls got its first victory of the season Sept. 6, beating Nordonia 3-1 at Bulldog Stadium.
Stow improved to 1-4, 1-1 in the Suburban League National Conference, while Nordonia fell to 1-3, 0-2 in the National Conference.
"It was great to get a win," said Stow coach Kyle Kosmala. "There was a little bit of a lull after halftime, but we were able to pick it back up. I thought Cam [Casenhiser] did a great job in the midfield."
Meanwhile, Nordonia coach Jason Stepp told his team Stow was the kind of team his team needed to beat if it hopes to be successful in the National Conference. Stepp said his team's biggest issue was simple.
"It all comes down to scoring goals," Stepp said. "We had about six chances to score where we decided to pass the ball. We lack that true No. 10 [forward] with a nose for getting to goal."
Stow made some lineup changes, including bringing freshman Caden Hayward in to start at central defense. However, the biggest news for Stow was the return of senior midfielder Frano Katalinic after he missed the first four games.
"It was great to have him back," Kosmala said. "I think the kids fed off his ability to steal balls in the midfield. Caden was a kid we've had our eye on since the start of the season. He did a great job back there."
Nordonia was able to put some early shots on goal, but the night's first score came on a bit of bad luck for the Knights.
In the 12th minute, Stow sent a throw into the box. The ball was headed backwards and deflected off the head of a Nordonia defender and into the net for an own goal in the 12th minute.
Stow's attack was constant after the first goal and it found the net again five minutes later.
After the Nordonia defense parried a cross and a shot by Stow, the ball fell to Bulldogs freshman Braydon Lazarra at the top of the box. Lazarra smashed a low shot into the net, making it 2-0 in the 17th minute.
Stow had several more chances to score before the half, but couldn't put its shots on net.
Down 2-0 at the half, Nordonia pushed to get back in the game. Their pressure paid off in the 50th minute.
After the ball deflected off the Stow defense, Knight sophomore Shawn Uguccini collected it. Uguccini launched a rocket into the top of the net from just outside the box, making it 2-1.
After the Knights' goal, however, it was the Bulldogs who attacked in waves.
Only some wide shots and nice saves by Knight goalie Connor Kaminicki kept Stow at bay. Kamnicki finished with 11 saves on the night.
The Bulldogs got their insurance goal in the 75th minute. Off a corner kick, Casenhiser ran onto a back-heel pass and slid the ball across the six-yard box. Senior Leandros Tosko popped the ball into the net at the back post, making it 3-1.
Stow finished with a 13-5 edge in shots on goal and a 9-2 edge in corner kicks. Bulldog goaltender Spencer-Raymond Smith finished with four saves.
"I think with Stow being our age, we needed to get this win," Stepp said. "That was not our best effort."
Stow was set to host Massillon Jackson Sept. 8 before hosting Kent Roosevelt Sept. 10. Results were not available at press time.
Stow will travel to Twinsburg Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. before hosting Akron Firestone Sept. 17 at the Stow Soccer Stadium. The Firestone game will include a 10th anniversary celebration of Stow's 2006 state championship team.