Kirtland continues march back to state

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KIRTLAND—Erika Zschuppe scored two first-half goals and Lidia Rodin added one to lead Kirtland to a 3-0 win over visiting Beachwood in a Division III district semifinal on Monday.

The top-seeded Hornets advanced to play No. 3 Cuyahoga Heights on Thursday at a site to be determined.

“We had a nice win tonight against a quality Beachwood side,” Kirtland coach Ed Bradac said. “Defensively, we were solid once again in the back and held both (Sydney) Sarver and (Romi) Roth in check. “Offensively, we moved the ball nicely and dominated the time of possession.”

Zschuppe broke the scoreless tie in the ninth minute when she changed directions and delivered a left-footed strike into the corner of the goal.

Lidia Rodin made it 2-0 when she accepted a pass from Maya Zovko off a corner kick and scored from long-range with just over five minutes left in the half.

Zschuppe added her second in the 38th minute.

“Beachwood tried to man-mark Erika and she was still able to score two goals,” Bradac said. “Maya and Lidia did a great job on set pieces and put Beachwood under pressure every time they had the ball at their feet.”

Corrine Aquila recorded three saves and Emily Ungrady, Gabby Vladic, Tea Petric and Amber Yurick prevented the Bison from mounting a comeback in the second half.

The Hornets recorded their eighth clean sheet of the season and their second straight in the postseason.

“Emily is the driving force of our defense,” Bradac said. “She is so strong and smart in the way she plays her position. Gabby, Tea and Amber did a great job preventing Beachwood from getting any real quality looks at goal.”

Kirtland improved to 16-2 on the year while Beachwood closed out its record-breaking campaign at 15-4.

The Bison set a school record for wins in a single season and advanced to the district tournament for the first time in school history.

“For us, that’s as good of a season as any of us could have dreamed of,” Beachwood coach Jonathan Kostoff said. “The girls have a ton to be proud of. The future is extremely bright for us. We only lose two seniors and one starter, so the future is extremely bright.”

Despite the loss, the Bison gained valuable experience in playing at a high level. They’ll use that experience to motivate and inspire them throughout the offseason to make another postseason run in 2019.

“To go play against this team, if we’re going to go back to districts, this is what it’s going to look like,” Kostoff said. “To get through this district you’ve got to beat Kirtland and you’ve got to compete with Cuyahoga Heights and Wickliffe. This gave us a chance to see what’s out there and what we need to do to get better. We need to take this and go through the winter and spring to be back on track when the fall comes back around.”

Madison Prince recorded 15 saves in the game.

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