After a 7-1 loss at Elyria Catholic in Saturday’s season opener, Kirtland head coach John Valentic felt much better following his team’s 1-1 tie at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin on Tuesday.
|Tommy Loncar recorded 7 saves|
Brad Hauptman gave the Hornets a 1-0 first half lead then buckled under the Lions’ pressure in the 82nd minute when David Kling tied it.
“I didn’t think that we’d be able to do (handle their pressure) for 80 minutes,” Valentic said. “The fact that we did it for 73 and you get a point, we get a tie against a very good team, huge. For our defense, morally, this is something we can build off because after Saturday’s debacle we needed a game like this against a quality opponent to show that we can play.”
NDCL went on the attack early, drilling shot after shot at senior Tommy Loncar, Kirtland’s first year goalie. Valentic recruited Loncar, a member of the Hornets’ basketball team, to join the squad this summer and he has proven to be a quick learner.
He gave up just the one goal against the Lions and recorded 7 saves.
“He had no business making them but he’s athletic. He’s got great hand-eye coordination and that’s what you need out of a goalie and he came through today,” Valentic said. “Coach (Hans) Zschuppe has been working with him a lot every day after Aug. 1. He’s staying late. We told him to be patient and he’s going to get better and obviously by game two he’s showing big improvement.”
Hauptman scored in the 37th minute off an assist from Jordan Ianiro. The two also accounted for Kirtland’s only goal at Elyria Catholic, although it was Hauptman that fed Ianiro.
Ianiro led Hauptman to the left corner of the goal and after the NDCL goalie couldn’t stop the shot Hauptman fought off another Lions defender then tipped the ball into the corner of the net.
“Those two guys, Jordan’s coming back All-Ohio with 31 goals last year and Bradley had some 16 assists, those guys make things happen,” Valentic said. “They are the ones we are going to look to for goals and danger and for the two games in a row they proved what their name and reputation is about.”
The Lions never let up, especially after tying the score with over seven minutes to play.
The fired shot after shot at Loncar and ended the game with 19 shots on goal.
Valentic hopes his team will be the aggressor when they host Chardon on Thursday.
“I think this was huge for us,” he said. “I’m anxious to see it. I think we can control more of the ball against them and get some goals. I’m looking forward to it.”