Injuries and illnesses, along with a junior varsity game, left the Kirtland soccer team shorthanded against conference rival Wickliffe on Tuesday.
The Hornets, led by goals from Stjepan Mijic-Barisic and Jeremy Lunka, found a way to win, 2-1.
“It wasn’t a very pretty game,” said Kirtland coach John Valentic. “It was hard fought, and hot out there, obviously. We were missing Brad (Hauptman) and a couple of kids were sick. We only had one sub because we had a JV game going on at the same time, so we were a little bit undermanned. The kids fought through it and Stjepan had two chances. He made one and assisted on another. That was the big difference.”
Wickliffe broke a scoreless tie with an early second half goal. Lunka tied it midway through the second when he finished a pass from Mijic-Barisic, known by his teammates as Pepo.
“Pepo beat a guy down the flank and Lunka had a nice finish on the goal line,” Valentic said. “
Mijic-Barisic gave the Hornets the lead late in the second half when he took a pass from Jared Ianiro and beat the Wickliffe keeper.
“It was an even 2-1 game,” Valentic said. “Both teams had a couple of chances that neither put away. They could have just as easily had two and we had one. Maybe we were a little luckier than they were.”
Daniel Jahnke, who finished with four saves, did his part to keep the Hornets in the game with two big saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless.
Kirtland improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference.