Story by Cassie Campise
The Liberty girls soccer team upset No. 6 Hamilton 3-1 on Wednesday night to move on to the quarterfinals in the 2021 AIA Girls Winter Soccer State Championship.
Head coach Kyle Pooler was impressed with how his team played. This was the second time the teams matched up in less than two weeks. The Lions beat the Huskies 3-1 on March 3rd in the regular season as well.
“They may have taken us a little lightly the first time around,” Pooler said. “I don’t know if that was the case or not. I think we may have shocked them last week in the matchup.”
Pooler ensured his team that the Huskies would come out hot and it was crucial to dominate the game from the start. Liberty did just that, with sophomore Cameran Isenberger scoring a goal in the first minutes of the match.
“We were able to capitalize the first five minutes of the game and I think we did a good job of taking advantage of our opportunities,” Pooler said.
Junior Tatum Thomason scored the second goal and Isenberger added another to make it 3-1. Both strikes were off deflections, and they were able to knock it in past the Huskies goalkeeper.
The second and third goals resulted from hard work and effort that the Lions put in to create chances. Now, they are hoping to bring the same energy to their next game against the four-time defending state champion Chaparral High School Firebirds.
“It’s my fourth year as a coach, and I have not broken through the Chaparral wall. They have a great group of girls again this year,” Pooler said. “We just need to go in and play our game and do our thing and try to come out on top.”
Liberty is one of four teams representing the Desert Valley region in the lower half of the bracket. Each team from the region has come to play.
“I think that says a lot about our region,” Pooler said. “Unfortunately we are all playing each other, but I guess the good thing about it from a regional standpoint is one of us will be making it into the finals. There will be a Desert Valley team in the finals, and hopefully that’s us.”
No. 11 Liberty will face No. 3 Chaparral on Saturday, March 13 at 4 p.m. in the quarterfinals.