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    Kirtland earns second straight postseason mercy rule

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    KIRTLAND—Kirtland’s soccer team recorded a second straight postseason mercy rule win when the Hornets defeated visiting Newton Falls on Tuesday, 8-0.

    The Hornets opened the postseason with an 8-0 win over Cornerstone Christian on Oct. 19.

    “Obviously, I’m very pleased with the result,” said Kirtland coach John Valentic. “The beginning was a little shaky, but once we settled down and played within ourselves, the result showed.”

    Kirtland broke a scoreless tie 15 minutes into the game when Aidan Whited finished a Vince Carriero pass into the bottom left corner of the Newton Falls net.

    The Hornets used that teamwork to add seven more goals in the 20 minutes that followed.

    “It’s what we work on every day,” Valentic said. “I want every player to be comfortable on the ball. It’s all about keeping the ball in and not panicking when pressure comes.”

    Kirtland wouldn’t take long to follow up with a second goal.

    Less than three minutes later, the Hornets struck again off the foot of Vincent Vukovic. Vukovic would score again on a free kick with 15 minutes left in the half, making it 3-0.

    Less than a minute later, Carriero would notch a goal in addition to his assist. Just before the seven-minute mark, Carriero struck again off a Nickolas Barisic assist as the Hornets took a 5-0 lead.

    Inside the last five minutes of the half, Kirtland tallied two more points, both coming from Luka Oroz. The second Oroz goal came with just 33 seconds left in the half as the Hornets carried a 7-0 advantage into the break.

    “Scoring is the key, right? And it doesn’t always go your way,” Valentic said of his team’s ability to create good looks all night. “At the beginning, we were not as clean, but we kept at it and with the belief and persistence, we got some goals.”

    Four minutes into the second half, Barisic put the stamp on the victory with a goal that ended the match as the Hornets took an eight-goal lead.

    The Hornets, who improved to 15-3, will play South Range for a district championship on Saturday at Hubbard High School.

     

     

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