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Playing against state powers has taken its toll on the Stow-Munroe Falls field hockey team.
That trend continued Sept. 15 at home, as Stow dropped at 5-0 loss to Hathaway Brown.
The Bulldogs sought a change of scenery to remedy their recent fortunes and found in it Upper St. Clair in suburban Pittsburgh. Stow traveled to Pennsylvania and defeated Vincentian Academy 8-1 and Upper St. Clair 4-1 Sept. 17
Stow's record stood at record at 4-4 as of press time.
Hathaway Brown dominated the game from start to finish, tallying 15 shots on goal and earning 10 penalty corners.
The Blazers got on the scoreboard early, as Suzie Glickman found the back of the net just seven minutes into the game. Freshman goalkeeper Audrey Stone battled the Blazers, deflecting several shots on goal.
The Bulldogs pushed the ball back up the field after a long hit by junior sweeper Kerri Lockard, who found senior midfielder Jessica Lloyd as the Bulldogs mounted their first attack.
Senior defensive back Maddy Fink stopped the push by Hathaway Brown, launching an 80-yard hit.
Hathaway Brown regained possession deep in their own territory and at the 4:21 mark, Alexia Jones scored for the Blazers to take a 2-0 lead.
After a flurry of corners, Hathaway Brown kept the pressure on Stow's defense. Hathaway Brown's Maren Butler scored with just 37 second remaining in the first half, as the Blazers took a 3-0 lead heading into halftime.
Hathaway Brown maintained the ball to start the second half and quickly earned two corners. At the 22:41 mark, Kristina Mullen found the corner of the goal to extend their lead to 4-0. The Bulldogs substituted in Sophomore forward Kia Tubergen and Junior forward Ella Roberts along with Junior defensive back Jenna Lynner to help spur the team.
Lloyd and junior midfielders Audrey Grone and Madison Kalpac consistently battled Hathaway Brown's attacks from their midfield positions.
After a corner with 12:30 remaining in the game, Maggie Cha scored to widen Hathaway Brown's lead to 5-0.
The Bulldogs defense held Hathaway Brown scoreless for the remainder of the game.
For the Pennslyvania trip, Stow coach Virginia Wohlabaugh changed both her scheme and her line-up to produce more scoring opportunities.
"We went with a flex-offense and this gave us four attackers on the field. The girls did a great job of adapting to the new game plan," Wohlabaugh said.
The move worked as Stow registered 30 shots on goal and earned eight penalty corners against Vincentian.
Senior forward Sam Houk and sophomore forward Katie Goodenow each scored 3 goals, while senior forward Leanne Bunnell and Lockard each scored one goal for the Bulldogs.
Bunnell scored her first goal of the season and helped give the offense an early lift. Lockard transitioned from her position as sweeper to forward to pick up her first goal of the season.
Sophomore goaltender Emma Hurguy recorded a shutout in her first game back from injury.
The back line played a terrific game as well, led by Seniors Gabby Kingston, Audra Harris and Fink, along with sophomore Jenna Lynner and senior sweeper Kimmie Schirra. Senior midfielder Jessica Lloyd, junior midfielders Audrey Grone and Madison Kalpac played well on both ends of the field. Junior forward Ella Roberts continued to produce scoring opportunities as well in the Bulldogs balanced attack.
Lloyd and Kingston controlled the middle of the field throughout the game, making key stops while leading the ball up field against the Royals.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Upper St. Clair dominated the first 20 minutes.
The Panthers were a handful as they controlled the ball and kept the Bulldogs on their heels, scoring at the 18:49 mark of the first half to take a 1-0 lead.
With just over nine minutes remaining in the first half, Tubergen launched a shot that inched past USC's goalkeeper, evening the score at 1-1. The Bulldogs weren't finished, as Bunnell scored from the right side after receiving a terrific pass from Sam Houk. Stow took a 2-1 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the half.
"The team recognized at halftime that we weren't playing with enough energy and so our seniors, led by Fink, became more aggressive," Wohlabaugh said. "We really did a nice job of controlling the tempo of the game throughout the second half."
Houk found the net at the 27:57 mark of the second half and the Bulldogs were off-and-running, taking a 3-1 lead over the Panthers. Crisp passes by Lloyd, Tubergen and Goodenow led to Houk's first goal of the game.
With just over nine minutes left, Houk received a slap shot pass from Lloyd at the top of the circle, and nudged the ball past USC's goalkeeper to record her second goal of the game.
The Bulldogs defense kept the Panthers at bay for the rest of the game as the Bulldogs won 4-1.
Stow was set to travel to Shaker Heights Sept. 22 and host Maumee Valley Country Day and Ottawa Hills Sept. 24, but results weren't available at press time.
Stop will host Orange Sept. 26 and Laurel Sepy. 29 at Bulldog Stadium. Varsity game time both days is 5 p.m.