Kirtland girls soccer: Hornets top Liberty Benton
Sandusky >> Hannah Vouk’s right-footed volley in the 67th minute broke a tie game to give Kirtland a 2-1 victory in its Division III state semifinal match against Liberty Benton on Nov. 7.
Vouk’s goal sends the Hornets to their first state final in school history, and left the senior midfielder speechless after the match as she and her teammates basked in the vibes of moving within a win of a state title. Kirtland advances to a D-III state final against Cincinnati Summit Country Day on Nov. 10 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus. Summit Country Day lost to Gilmour in last year’s D-III state championship match.
“I’m not worriedabout school,” Vouk said. “I’m not worried about what I’m going to wear tomorrow. I am just so focused, and I am so happy we were able to bring it all together. It feels amazing.”
Kirtland’s Emily Ungrady opened the scoring with a volley to the left of Liberty Benton freshman goalkeeper Sophie Aschemeier in the 38th minute. Ungrady’s goal put the Hornets ahead, 1-, at halftime.
“It was a bullet,” Vouk said. “It hit the back of the net, the ball rolled, you could hear that sound. Oh my gosh it was amazing. It feels amazing to know she’s been working so hard, it’s her first season with soccer at Kirtland and it was a really tough shot and a hard angle.”
The Eagles entered their match against Kirtland Nov. 7 having allowed one goal since Sept. 25. Aschemeier, behind senior defenders Carson Garlock and Jessi LaFontaine, registered 15 shutout performances in her freshman season.
Preparation for Liberty Benton’s staunch defense required attention to Kirtland’s set pieces, and Coach Ed Bradac’s team’s goals followed corner kicks or volleys into the attacking zone.
“That’s what’s going to win these games,” Bradac said. “It’s proven time and time again, in close, tight games, it’s done on set pieces.”
Savanah Richards tied the match in the 55th minute with her 28th goal of the season on a penalty kick. Otherwise, the Eagles’ leading scorer was checked by Kirtland’s Jenna Sayle. An injury to sophomore defensive back Tea Petric, who shut down Elyria Catholic’s Ryan Kunkle in a previous match, required Bradac to move Sayle from her midfield position back into his defensive formation.
“We know that if we put her on her, she’s not going to do something silly,” Bradac said. “She’s going to contain her. She’s going to delay her and get help from everywhere else we can on the field.”
The Hornets played in a D-III state semifinal for the second time in three seasons. Kirtland fell to Chippewa, 1-, in 2015.
Bradac said what separates this year’s group is a blend of players, freshmen through seniors, who sacrifice for one another and set the team’s welfare as a top priority.
“Whether you’re a senior and you don’t play,” Bradac said, “you still support that sophomore that gets in and plays most of those minutes. It’s a team in the true sense of the word.”
Vouk is one of nine seniors whose high school careers conclude on Nov. 10. As critical as her game-winning goal proved on Nov. 7, Vouk pointed to senior forward Vikki Carriero’s role.
Carriero isn’t a starter, but Vouk calls her Kirtland’s “soul” who embodies the sacrifices and attitude Bradac values.
“Every team needs that one person to lift you up,” Vouk said. “I think that’s what makes us so special. She treats everyone equally, everyone. She loves them. It’s a family atmosphere and that’s what makes it so incredibly welcoming and it makes you just want to be there everyday.Andrdquo;