Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Kirtland stuns second-ranked Beachwood

KIRTLAND—The Beachwood Bison entered Monday’s Chagrin Valley Conference showdown at Kirtland ranked second in the state.

The Hornets had Bradley Hauptman and Danny Jahnke.

Hauptman scored two goals and Jahnke recorded five savese to lead the Hornets to a 2-1 win, spoiling Beachwood’s undefeated season.

“The first thing I said to the boys was congratulations. The second thing I said is we’ll see them again,” said Kirtland coach John Valentic. “We had a good training session on Sunday night, the boys wanted to come out, so I felt good that we were going to perform well. The keys were organization and a belief. Both were to the utmost today and we got the result.”

That organization helped the Hornets balance possession in the first half.

Hauptman gave the Hornets a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when broke through Beachwood defense and beat the keeper in a one-on-one situation.

Beachwood tied the game midway through the second half but Hauptman responded with another breakaway with just 6:52 left to play.

“Missing him for four games, knowing this is when we wanted him to reach his peak, I don’t think he’s there yet but this was huge,” Valentic said. “He had a pulled quad for a while so I think he’s getting back in the groove. Two goals against No. 2 Beachwood is a pretty good start.”

Hauptman credited his teammates for his success.

“It’s all through the setup,” he said. “We have a really good, strong midfield with Ryan (Friedenberg) and Jared (Ianiro) winning balls in the middle. I’m just making runs with Pepo (Stjepan Mijic-Barisic) and the goals just come.”

Beachwood entered the game having scored 41 goals in its first nine games but the Bison were limited to just one off a direct kick from distance as Jahnke, a first year goalkeeper, turned in a strong performance in the net.

“I can’t say enough from starting out in the summer as a rookie goalkeeper even though he’s a junior,” Valentic said. “He had fantastic saves and was great in the back with Colin (McGreal) and Caleb (Cardon) as far as organizing and winning balls. The shots Danny had to face, he made the saves. I can’t ask for more.”

Jahnke knew what he was up against but his confidence grew after every save.

“They had a really talented forward, No. 9, and we knew we had to keep him in our back pocket all game and he took off a couple shots and I blocked them,” Jahnke said. “As soon as you make one save it builds up your confidence and the ball was just rolling today.”

Kirtland improved to 8-2 overall and 4-0 in league play. Beachwood dropped to 6-1-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the CVC.

The Hornets host Gilmour on Wednesday then travel to Independence the following Tuesday for a game that should decide the winner of the CVC Valley Division.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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