By Michael Leonard | RECORD PUBLISHING CO.
In the past, boys soccer games between Kent Roosevelt and Stow have featured plenty of grit and physicality.
Both teams displayed those traits in abundance again Thursday when they met at Stanton Stadium in Kent.
However, Stow had a decided advantage in one key area: Finishing.
Stow took advantage of a 12-4 edge in shots on goal, leading the Bulldogs to a 3-0 win.
Stow improved to 2-2-1 with the win, while the Rough Riders slipped to 1-4.
Coming off a 4-0 loss Aug. 29 to Lake, Stow followed its usual game plan of defending and counterattacking.
"With the guys we have in the back, we're going to give up the midfield sometimes," said Stow coach Kyle Kosmala. "Kent's going to have more possession. But our guys did a great job taking the chances they had."
Roosevelt coach Keil Cox said it was tough loss because the effort from his team was not lacking.
"I feel like, if not more chances, we had as many quality chances as they did," Cox said. "Possession-wise, we did really well. These are the games I feel like I won't be able to sleep after. You think the kids are doing better and working, but it's tough."
It was end-to-end action early until Stow hit a counterattack through its leading scorer.
Adam Hunt fed a perfect through ball to Robby Anderson in the 11th minute, Anderson sprinted past the defense and slotted the ball home to make it 1-0.
"It's no shock knowing that (Anderson) is that skilled," Cox said.
Roosevelt's response to the goal was to ratchet up the physicality and press forward. The Rough Riders had numerous rushes forward, only to find their efforts thwarted by the Stow defense or goalkeeper Jackson Dame.
Dame only needed four saves to register the shutout, but on numerous occasions, he covered the ball off his line to cut out loose balls or crosses.
"Jackson's a little bit faster (than Stow's other goalkeeper, Nathan Harris)," Kosmala said. "If they would have been throwing in high crosses all night, I may have gone with Harris. I had a feeling it was Jackson's night though."
Up 1-0 at halftime, Kosmala made a switch, putting Hunt in the midfield and sending speedy sophomore Logan Morris up front.
"We were just losing a bit too much in the midfield," Kosmala said. "Adam played really well there last week when he needed to."
The move worked, as Stow's pressure on the Rough Riders defense yielded two goals.
In the 48th minute, Bulldog forward Caleb Enright made a brilliant run down the left side of the field and sent a shot in on net. Roosevelt defender Tarron Fields made a sliding effort to clear the shot off the line, but forward AJ Lundstrom crashed the net, collected the rebound and smashed it into the open goal to make 2-0.
"AJ has done a nice job for us," Kosmala said. "That's two goals and an assist already this season."
In the 55th minute, Morris intercepted an errant pass from the Rough Rider defense and sprinted to the net. Morris slotted a low shot into the net for his first varsity goal.
The margin would have been wider if not for some nice saves from Rough Rider keeper Malik Butler. Butler finished with eight saves on the night, highlighted by a point-blank stop on Morris in the 60th minute.