Sunday, February 25

    Barisic’s goal-scoring haul sends Kirtland to regional tournament

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    Nickolas Barisic scored four goals in leading Kirtland to a 5-2 win over South Range in a Division III district championship game at Hubbard Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

    With the win, the Hornets clinched their fifth district title in the past six seasons—they finished as the district runner-up last fall—and advanced to play Andrews-Osborne in Wednesday’s regional semifinals at Ravenna.

    “It was fantastic,” said Kirtland coach John Valentic. “I’m really happy for the seniors. We lost a heartbreaker in the district finals last year on penalty kicks, so this was a little bit of payback from last year, but we had to earn every goal. This was not an easy contest. It was physical and I’m just happy for the team. It was a good performance by the whole group.”

    Kirtland jumped out to a quick lead when Barisic scored the first of his haul within the first two minutes of the game.

    “It was a great shot from 20 yards away,” Valentic said. “It was a screamer.”

    South Range answered just minutes later off a set piece to send the game into the break tied 1-1.

    Barisic gave the Hornets a 2-1 lead early in the second half when he converted a penalty kick but the Raiders quickly responded again to tie the game at 2-2.

    The Hornets closed out the game with two Barisic goals and one from Vince Carriero.

    “I think we just wore them down,” Valentic said. “Their goalkeeper fumbled a few and coughed up some rebounds and we were quick to put them away.”

    Barisic benefited from two of those rebounds as he was in the right spot at the right time. He now leads the Hornets with 32 goals on the year and moved into second place all-time for goals scored in a single season. Marco Valentic set the record with 35 goals in 2021 and Jordan Ianiro dropped to third all-time with 31 goals scored in 2013.

    As a senior, Barisic is playing with extra motivation considering every game could be his last.

    “I don’t think about how it could be my last game; I just go out and play freely and not think about how if we lose then I am done,” he said. “Playing freely makes me not think about the emotional side of the result.”

    The Hornets now set their sights on Andrews-Osborne, who enters the regional semifinals 14-0-1.

    “I know they’re very solid,” Valentic said. “This will not be an easy game. We are the underdog and now I’ve got to do my homework and get these kids ready to by Wednesday.”




    Steve Hare
    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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