Kent Roosevelt and Stow-Munroe Falls boys soccer each have been dealing with some adversity in the early part of the season.
Many of those issues have to do with youth and inexperience.
There was more adversity heaped on both teams Sept. 10 when they met at the Stow Soccer Stadium, but Stow adapted just a bit better.
The Bulldogs converted a penalty kick in the 56th minute to score a 1-0 win over the Rough Riders.
Stow was unable to get any momentum from the contest, however. On Sept. 13, Stow traveled to Twinsburg, where it lost a 3-0 decision to the Tigers.
Stow's record stood at 2-6, 1-2 in the Suburban League National Conference as of press time.
The contest with Roosevelt was buffeted by high winds from the south, which made possession a challenge.
Both coaches expressed dismay at the level of officiating in the game.
"It's unbelievable," said Roosevelt coach Kiel Cox. "I tried to be as positive as possible, but officials get in the way of a game like this between two classy programs, it's hard. We would have momentum and it would stop. They would have momentum and it would stop.
"We both have young teams and you want to make sure they're not distracted," Cox added. "In a game like this, they get distracted."
"I think both teams did a good job of trying to concentrate on winning the game," said Stow coach Kyle Kosmala. "We went with a new lineup tonight and it worked pretty well for us."
Stow switched to a hybrid 3-5-2 formation, moving freshman Caden Hayward, freshman Miles Thomas and sophomore Nathan Kolke to defense.
The move worked. While Stow goaltender Spencer Raymond-Smith had to cut out some crossing balls and control his area, Roosevelt did not register a shot on goal as Stow earned its first shutout of the season.
Stow finished with a 7-0 edge in shots on goal.
The best chance of the first half came in the 29th minute off a Stow free kick. Junior Aidan Banner put a curling shot into the upper corner of the net, only to be robbed by a brilliant save from Rough Rider keeper Sam Smith.
Smith finished with six saves.
Tied 0-0 at half, the breakthrough came in the 56th minute. Rough Rider captain TJ Harrod was called for fouling a Stow forward in the box from behind and given a yellow card.
Stow senior Hayden Baer, who was playing his first game of the year after returning from concussion symptoms, banked the penalty kick off the right post and in.
"While he was out, all he did was take penalty kicks," Kosmala said of Baer. "It was time well spent."
Roosevelt attempted to press the issue, but was unable to get a shot off in waning minutes of the game.
Heading into the game with Twinsburg, Kosmala said he wasn't looking forward to matching wits with long-time coaching rival Mike Lally.
"It's always going to be tough when you play a Mike Lally-coached team," Kosmala said. "No one has ever gotten an easy win against Twinsburg. They make you earn everything."
Twinsburg showed their mettle against the Bulldogs, rushing out to a 3-0 lead at halftime and containing the Bulldogs from there.
Twinsburg finished with a 10-4 edge in shots on goal and a 7-4 edge in corner kicks. Stow goaltender Andrew Herring was credited with five saves.
The Tigers got their goals from senior Elijah Savitt, senior Tyler Gairing and senior Sean Silas.
Stow was set to host Akron Firestone Sept. 17, but results weren't available at press time.
Up next for the Bulldogs is a trip to archrival Hudson Sept. 20, followed by a trip to Green Sept. 22. Kickoff both nights is set for 7 p.m.