Monday, February 26, 2024

Sundararajan scores twice to lead Kirtland past Open Door

Sanjay Sundararajan played one of his best games of the year in leading Kirtland past host Open Door Christian Academy, 4-2, on Thursday.

The sophomore scored two goals to help the Hornets build an early 3-0 lead.

“He had great off the ball running and he just had a lot of confidence today,” said Kirtland coach John Valentic. “They were fast but he outran them and finished very cleanly past the goalie. He was effective. The key was his off the ball movement and desire to get open and he was patient. Obviously, you’re not going to get the ball every time and you’re going to get called off sides sometimes, but he stayed in it and was rewarded for that work off the ball.”

Jared Ianiro and Stjepan Mijic-Barisic also scored for the Hornets, who improved to 7-2 on the year.

Ianiro, who is second on the team with eight goals scored, wasn’t happy with his performance despite the goal and an assist.

His coach didn’t agree.

“He was a bit disappointed in his overall performance but he had an off game and still had a goal and an assist,” Valentic said. “That’s what good players do when they’re not at their sharpest or at their best; they still are dangerous and still help the team. Jared runs the show. He’s on the ball so much and makes so many things happen.”

Colin McGreal was effective on the backside protecting Kirtland keeper Danny Jahnke, who finished with four saves.

“He organized the back line,” Valentic said of McGreal. “They scored when he went up for a corner kick so he wasn’t back there and they also scored when we went to clear it and it deflected off their player and went in the goal. They didn’t create any chances mostly because he snuffed it out or he broke up the attack. When he wasn’t in position we were vulnerable. When he’s there he’s an anchor for that back line.”

The Hornets host Beachwood on Monday in a matchup between two of the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division’s top teams. Kirtland is 4-1 in league play while the Bison are 2-0-1.

Steve Hare
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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