On Saturday at Scioto High School, the Liberty Girls Soccer team had a chance to earn the programs’s second regional championship and trip to the State Tournament Final 4. The #8 seeded Patriots defeated #4 Jerome earlier in the season by a margin of 2-0, but knew the rematch against the higher seeded Celtics would be a stiff challenge due to their team speed and potent attack. Jerome came in with momentum after an overtime win over top seeded Pickerington North on Tuesday.
The first half was fairly even in possession with Liberty having a slight edge in the attacking third, but neither team generated significant scoring opportunities. At halftime, with the score 0-0, the coaching staff discussed the fact that Jerome had gone two overtimes on Tuesday vs. Pickerington North, had not substituted much in the first half, and that fatigue could be an issue in the second half. The plan was to bring high pressure and work rate early in the second half and to try to get an early score. The players delivered in the very first minute of the second half, when Abby Jones won a physical 50/50 battle about 40 yards from goal, played the ball forward to Abby Townsend who drove to the end line, and crossed the ball to Madison Rapier who buried a one timer to take a 1-0 lead at the 40:44 mark.
The high pressure would continue and the Pattys would strike again in the 50th minute when Lyndsey Kijowski won a free ball in the central midfield, passed to Jones on the flank, and after a 20 yard run with the ball, laid it off to Townsend who beat a defender and slipped the ball back to Jones as she cut to the middle, weaved through 3 Jerome defenders and hit a laser over the goalkeepers head to the near post to go up 2-0.
For the balance of the match, Jerome tried to equalize but Liberty’s back line of Olivia Sensky, Sydney Weaver, Mara Follmer and Caitlin Curmode along with goalkeeper Riley Cartwright, turned away every chance.
Liberty is now 13-5-3 on the season and 10-1 in their last 11 games, allowing only 6 goals and recording 8 shutouts during that stretch.
The win secured the Pattys second regional championship in three years, matching what was accomplished in the 2015 season. Liberty advances to the State Tournament Final Four on Tuesday, with time and location to be determined, and will face the same opponent as in 2015. Loveland defeated Springboro in overtime to earn a return to the State Tournament and rematch with the Pattys, which they won 3-1 in the first meeting.
Stay tuned for updates, HERE is the state bracket which will be updated tomorrow, and we hope to see you on Tuesday!
GO PATTYS! OUR WORK IS NOT DONE!