After a rough start to the season, the Kirtland girls’ soccer team is playing with a lot of confidence and momentum.
The Hornets opened the season 0-3-1 but following Monday’s 6-0 win over visiting Wickliffe they improved their record to 5-3-1 and have shut four of their last five opponents.
“That was the first game we played against a Division III team,” said Kirtland coach Ed Bradac. “Up until this point, all our games have been against Division I or Division II opponents. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how we were going to play, based on the fact that Wickliffe was 7-1. I have to give them credit for that; they’re beating the teams on their schedule.”
Maya Zovko scored two goals to push her total to 10 this season. She scored just six all of last season as a freshman.
“From her freshman year to sophomore year, she truly figured it out,” Bradac said. She always had all the soccer skills but she figured out for herself that physically she had to become a better athlete and she did an incredible job of that. She’s in better shape and combined with her soccer skills, that’s difficult to stop.”
Jenna Sayle, Lilia Valentic, Katie McCollister and Lauren Lutz also scored for the Hornets while Hannah Vouk and Amber Yurick both had a pair of assists. Liz Vernon and Emily Ungrady also assisted on goals in the win.
Gabby Culotta recorded one save in picking up her fifth clean sheet of the season.
Culotta was assisted by a defense that has improved a great deal since Maggie Kadas was added to the unit.
“It all starts with Maggie Kadas,” Bradac said. “When we moved Maggie back, it’s just the leadership she provides for us in the back and that allows Tea (Petric), Danielle Bryll and Jess Hepper to basically feed off of her and her leadership. It is the one difference that we made that changes the whole look and feel of our team.”
The Hornets host defending Division II state runner-up Chagrin Falls on Wednesday.