Moving up to the Chagrin Valley Conference’s Chagrin Division cost Kirtland its streak of four straight consecutive league titles, but the Hornets did get to play spoiler this season.
Their 2-0 win over Chagrin Falls on Thursday cost the Tigers a share of the title and left the Hornets in second place with a 4-1-1 league record. Hawken (5-1) is in first place. West Geauga is 3-1-1 but plays Chagrin Falls (3-2) on Oct. 8.
“If they would have won they would have assured themselves of the co-championship,” said Kirtland coach Ed Bradac. “We finished in second place but we beat West Geauga. They beat Hawken lost to West Geauga. Our problem was our tie to Geneva.”
Katie Straus was involved in both of Kirtland’s goals against the Tigers.
She finished a pass from Deanna Ponzani to open the scoring then fed Grace Powers to make it 2-0 in the first half.
“This is hard to say because she’s had so many good games thus far, but this was by far Katie’s best game as far as her work rate,” Bradac said. “She put a ton of pressure on Chagrin’s defenders. Deanna played the ball and she collects it and beat the defender around the outside edge. She cut in and played it right across the goal keeper.”
Straus later had a one-on-one with the Chagrin keeper but opted to set up Powers for the easy goal.
“She split two defenders and we always tell the girls not to give up on a play, not just Katie, but to just follow the play,” Bradac said. “Katie beat two defenders and has a one-on-one situation with the goal keeper and at the very last minute the keeper is almost to her and Katie plays the ball to her left. She knows who is there. Grace kept coming with her and Grace basically had a tap in the goal. There was no goal keeper. It was wide open.”
Maddie Zuberer recorded seven saves for the Hornets.
“That was her best game,” Bradac said. “She just had some phenomenal saves. There was one in the upper 90. She jumped up and (knocked) the ball over the net. There was another where on a free kick the ball got played in and she double punched the ball out of the goal box. She had a great game.”
Kirtland improved to 8-2-1 overall.
The Hornets travel to Akron on Saturday to play Manchester. The Panthers are 8-3 this season and received votes in the latest Division III state coaches’ poll.