Kirtland coach John Valentic liked what he saw out of his Hornets at practice on Monday and he hoped to see that effort carry over into Tuesday’s Chagrin Valley Conference game at Cardinal.
He wasn’t disappointed.
Luke Sabbath scored four goals, Jordan Ianiro added two and Stanley Skrbis and Ryan Friedenberg each chipped in with one to lead the Hornets to an 8-1 win over the Huskies.
“We had a really good training session (on Monday),” Valentic said. “It was short but it was intense and it was aggressive. It was actually probably one of the best training sessions we’ve had all year. That’s always encouraging and you hope it’s going to carry over into the next day and it did. That’s what we were asking for and they performed to that level.”
Sabbath broke the scoreless tie with a header off Bradley Hauptman’s corner kick. A minute later he banked in his second goal, this one off Ianiro's shot.
“He missed a good 10 days of preseason and I think he’s just finding his stride and I don’t expect a letup the rest of the way from him,” Valentic said of Sabbath. “We were cautious with him but he’s feeling better.”
Ianiro had several chances before he scored his first goal of the day just past the midway mark of the first half. His first shot on goal set up Sabbath’s second score and he had one shot bounce off the crossbar and another cleared the goal.
“I think with more focus he could have put those away,” Valentic said. “I was hoping that he would maintain his focus and intensity and I think he let his foot off the gas pedal a little bit.”
Sabbath’s third goal gave the Hornets a 4-0 halftime lead.
Despite the score, Cardinal coach Dale Holcomb liked what he saw out of his players, especially after the Huskies gave Wickliffe all it could handle the day before. Wickliffe earned a tie against the Hornets.
“We’ve still got to work on some stuff but we’re getting there,” Holcomb said. “We played Wickliffe and hung with them and I didn’t think we played as well yesterday as we did today. Sometimes scores don’t show the effort that’s involved.”
Skrbis and Sabbath made it 6-0 early in the second half.
“(Skrbis) has been playing defense all season,” Valentic said. “We’ve been trying him at different positions.”
Ianiro’s second goal came midway through the second half and Friedenberg struck a minute later to close out Kirtland’s scoring effort.
“(Friedenberg) is really versatile player that we’re expecting some good things from,” Valentic said. “He had a little bit of a back problem but he’s a very talented player. When he gets healthy he’s going to be someone to be reckoned with. He adds to the depth of the team.”
Cardinal’s Ian Mast got the Huskies on the board when he scored off an assist from his brother, Trent Mast, with 11:39 left in the game.
“We’re trying a new offense for us to complement the players that we have. There are a few kinks here and there and that’s why we ran into some trouble. We were bunching a little bit in the middle,” Holcomb said. “They made some good passes. When we do things right, we’re a good team. We’re getting there.”
Kirtland improved to 3-1-3 while Cardinal dropped to 1-3-1.