Liberty soccer puts up a touchdown against Hazen

October 3, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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By Greg Farrar Jordan Hemmen (14), Liberty High School junior defender, watches her header score the first point for the Patriots in a 7-0 win Sept. 9 over Hazen High School.

By Greg Farrar
Jordan Hemmen (14), Liberty High School junior defender, watches her header score the first point for the Patriots in a 7-0 win Sept. 9 over Hazen High School.

If it were a football game being played at Liberty High School on Sept. 9, the 7-0 shutout win for the home team would have told the story of a mostly defensive stalemate between two squads.

But Liberty and Hazen were not playing football that pleasant Tuesday evening; they were playing soccer. So, instead, that rare 7-0 score engineered by the Patriots told the opposite story — one that ends with an overpowering offensive performance courtesy of the defending 3A state champions, now playing at the 2A level.

“It’s so much fun when you’re scoring — and then you just keep scoring,” said junior captain Jordan Hemmen, who accounted for two of Liberty’s seven scores.

Things started out slow for the Patriots, a squad looking to replace 10 seniors from last year’s championship team. They didn’t find the net until about 25 minutes into the first half.

It came on a corner kick from senior Sami Harrell, who perfectly served the ball to Hemmen, giving her the chance to head the ball in for her first score of the night.

From there, Liberty got on a roll and never looked back.

“The floodgates kind of opened and once we got one, they kind of just went boom, boom, boom,” Patriots coach Tami Nguyen said.

The second score came not two minutes later, when freshman Sydney Willoughby found the net, courtesy of yet another Harrell assist.

Just 5 minutes before the end of the first half, the Patriots showed the future is bright, when a pair of freshman worked together to net Liberty’s third goal of the night. Makena Carr had the score, while Willoughby had the assist.

“I’m super excited to see the freshmen develop the next few years,” Hemmen said. “They have so much potential.”

Liberty scored two more times before the end of the half, as Hemmen added her second goal and senior Megan Downing had her first, while Sydney Abel engineered assists for both.

Kelley Johnson and Abel put the game even farther out of reach in the second half, when they each scored a goal.

“Early in the year, just for our attacking players to get confidence scoring goals is huge for us,” Nguyen said.

Freshman goalkeeper Sydney Argosino and junior Jasmine Curl combined for the shutout.

Nguyen said her squad was still finding its identity in the season’s infancy. The goal is to repeat as state champions, this time at the 2A level, but that was not necessarily on her girls’ mind at the moment, she added.

The coach, who starred at the University of Washington, is a big proponent of making sure her team plays its best at the right time, just as last year’s squad did, coming together for a thrilling playoff run.

“Obviously, state’s a goal of ours, but we just take it one game at a time,” she said.

Sept. 9 represented the first time Liberty and Hazen faced off on the soccer pitch in 10 years. It was a rough night for the Highlanders, but Hazen coach Ken Matthews still found a few positive takeaways from the game.

“I am never disappointed in our girls’ effort,” he said. “They give everything that they possibly can.”

Similar to Liberty, Hazen lost a large senior class to graduation, including star defender Gabby Brower, a Newcastle resident now playing at Western Washington University.

Hazen played one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the state. In addition to facing the defending 3A state champions, they traveled to Idaho where they played Lake City High School, a team that earned third place in its state tournament last year.

The Highlanders also played Auburn Mountainview and Eastside Catholic, teams from two historically strong programs. The tough nonleague schedule was intentional, Matthews said.

“Our goal is to be better in league, to get through league, so playing teams like this can only help,” he said. “I’ll be able to say to these girls, ‘I don’t think these guys are going to be better than anyone we’ve already played.’”

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