Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Kirtland tops Independence in nonconference showdown

Erika Zschuppe, Maya Zovko and Jenna Sayle each scored a goal to lead Kirtland to a 3-0 nonconference win over visiting Independence on Tuesday.

With the win, the Hornets improved to 4-0 on the year.

“We need to do a better job finishing on goal,” said Kirtland coach Ed Bradac. “We had several opportunities to score tonight but we either lacked patience in the offensive third of the field or missed the goal high.”

Zschuppe’s goal gave the Hornets an early 1-0 lead.

Zovko made it 2-0 on a header late in the first when she received a cross from Lauren Lutz and pushed it in above the keeper’s head.

“With this team, I believe that we are working so well so early because of the common goal every girl on this team has,” Zovko said of the way the Hornets have come together early in the season. “Every one of our players wants to get back to Columbus, and with that, every player knows it takes work and time. We come to practice, every workout, and every game with the same mindset. Over the last few months we have spent so much time together on and off the field that when game time comes, everything clicks and although it is early in the season and we are already doing well, it is only going to get better with this team.”

Independence dropped its second straight game to fall to 1-2, but the Blue Devils competed well in both losses. They dropped a 3-0 decision at Wickliffe on Aug. 23 then fell at Kirtland on Tuesday.

“We played hard today,” said Independence coach Bryan Less. “Kirtland was better than us but the effort was there. We did some things well, but we still have a ways to go, both in fitness and in tactics. This was a hard-fought loss against a quality opponent. I was proud of our effort today, and if we continue to play like this, we will have a lot of success this season.”

Reni Kaiser recorded 12 saves for Independence.

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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