Kirtland’s season came to an end on Monday when the Hornets dropped a 2-0 decision to Hawken in a Division III district semifinal.
The loss closed out the careers of seniors Grace Powers and Lindsay Ward. Both played key roles in the Hornets’ run to the state Final Four in 2015 and Ward’s legacy is one for the record books as she tied her sister, Hallie Ward, for being a part of 55 career wins.
Lindsay Ward closed out her four-year career on teams that finished 55-14-10. Hallie Ward played from 2012-2015 and compiled a 55-15-9 record.
“I said to Lindsay at the end of the game how proud I was that she stayed with soccer all four years,” said Kirtland coach Ed Bradac. “This is a kid who has unbelievable talent on the softball diamond and at any given moment, especially after suffering her injury sophomore year she could have walked away but she didn't. To me that's invaluable to our team because our freshmen got the opportunity to see her leadership and learn from her leadership and ultimately that's going to make us a better team two years and three years down the road.”
Ward learned of her accomplishment after Monday’s game.
She credited all the players who came before her for creating a culture of success at Kirtland.
“It's such an honor to carry that label, but the recognition should not go to me,” she said. “The recognition starts with the women who started the Kirtland program. Mr. Bradac always says it starts with one, and he believes the one who started it all for us was Bryn McNicholas. This is also an attribution to all of the teams and captains I've been lucky to play and grow under, starting with Ashleigh Kmentt and Maggie Reilly, Bronte Beaman and Ariana Cubela, and lastly, Hallie Ward, Maddie Zuberer, Emily Kadas and Kerri Zalba. The soccer organization at Kirtland is one big family and it is going to continue to grow and get better. I was very fortunate to be a part of the teams who played a very large role in the development of this team. Not only is it the girls, it's the love and dedication all three of our coaches bring to the table. I am so proud to have been given the chance to be a part of such an amazing program with amazing people.”
Powers came out for the team as a junior and immediately became a consistent contributor.
“I said, 'Grace, if someone told me that I could only have Grace for two years on the soccer team, I told her I'd take it any day,'” Bradac said. “She is just such a good human being. She genuinely cares about everyone. That's such a great quality to have, not just on the soccer team, but in life. We got to experience that firsthand as a team. I'm so incredibly grateful for that. Selfishly, would I have liked to have he for four years? Absolutely, but I'll take what we can get.”
The effort and leadership Ward and Powers demonstrated on a daily basis should serve the future Hornets well.
“I hope the girls come back next year stronger than ever,” Ward said. “I want the girls to remember to play every game with every ounce of energy, passion, and love for the game while they can because one day it will be gone. I also want them to continue to make the soccer team a family. That's one of the things we pride ourselves on is the love we show for each other and the game. When our team plays with heart, we are unstoppable. Last year was a great example of that.”