Despite graduating nine players from last year’s conference championship team, Kirtland’s girls’ soccer team is as potent as ever.
|Hannah Vouk scored the first goal of her high school career|
Behind goals from Hannah Vouk, Ariana Cubela and Bronte Beaman, the Hornets defeated Willoughby South, 3-0, on Wednesday to improve to 1-1 on the year.
“It’s a good win,” said Kirtland coach Ed Bradac. “Our preseason was very good. Our first game against Laurel, even though we lost 2-0, I thought there were some things we did well but we needed to move on. Willoughby South is a good team, but my expectations are going to be higher for this group. I’m proud of what they’re doing as a team, but I’ll keep saying it, we need to keep growing and getting better. We graduated nine, so it’s a whole different team.”
Vouk, a freshman, put the Hornets on the board early in the first half when she took a pass from teammate Deanna Ponzani and buried the ball into the left corner of the net.
It was the first goal of her high school career.
“There was a range of options,” Vouk said. “We had a lot of shots on goal but some of them just weren’t going in. The first one we did get, it wasn’t luck and it wasn’t just a tap in. It was a good assist from one of my teammates and I put it in the corner.”
Vouk proved early in the preseason that she not only belonged with the varsity squad, but that she could be a regular contributor and earned a starting role.
“I want to believe that in every one of our scrimmages, except for maybe one, she had a goal, an assist or contributed in some way, whether it was a penalty kick,” Bradac said. “She’s very good as a freshman and we recognized it early. She is right where she belongs. We’re going to move her. She plays a little bit of forward; she’s playing a little midfield. We’re not sure where she’s going to settle in yet but she’s a starter and she deserves it.”
Cubela made it 2-0 in the first half when she somehow escaped the grasps of three South defenders and fired the ball into the back of the net.
Beaman used an assist from Vouk to make it 3-0 midway through the second half.
Bradac expects his two senior captains to continue to lead the way for the Hornets.
“Ariana, she’s a senior captain; she’s composed. She’s probably one of the better players in the area. We need her to lead this team, along with Bronte,” Bradac said. “The three girls we mentioned, that’s’ who should be scoring for us.”
Maddie Zuberer recorded two saves in notching her first shutout of the season.
The Hornets travel to Harvey on Thursday then host Lake Catholic on Tuesday. The game against the Cougars is one Bradac scheduled specifically to challenge his players to compete at a higher level.
“There will be a lot of comparisons made from last year to this year,” he said. “For me, the talent is different but the level of skill is there. Our schedule is harder and so we have to be ready. We have to play Willoughby South in preparation for the teams that lie in front of us, the Lake Catholics, the West Geaugas, the Cardinal Mooneys. It’s going to be difficult so we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to get better in a hurry.”