Liberty Patriots clinch KingCo girls soccer title

October 25, 2011

By Christina Lords

Liberty eyes strong finish to No. 1 seed

Kailiana Johnson, Liberty junior forward, fires her hat trick into the Juanita goal in the 74th minute Oct. 20, for the 5-3 margin of victory over the Rebels. v

They’ve already wrapped up the KingCo Conference 3A/2A title Oct. 20 with a 5-3 victory against host Juanita.

They’ve already clinched the automatic No. 1 seed in the Class 3A state playoffs.

But make no mistake — the Liberty High School girls soccer team is still focused on the here and now.

“We’re not thinking about state yet,” Liberty junior Kailiana Johnson said. “We’ve been focusing on games coming up next week and then we’re going to focus on post-season during our off week and get prepared.”

The KingCo title is the second straight for the Patriots, who captured the league’s state 3A berth earlier in the week with a 3-0 win against Lake Washington.

This is the first time Liberty has won back-to-back titles since 2001, when the Patriots won their third straight KingCo title.

“Winning KingCo was No. 1 on our list,” Liberty coach Jaime Giger said. “Obviously we’re still looking at the next two games. I told the girls we’re not looking at state yet. I want to take care of this league. I want to win all of the games before us.”

As her first year at the helm for the team, Giger said she’s proud of the way the Patriots have gelled as a unit.

“I’ve gotten my feet wet,” she said. “When we went through the first half of the season, it was my first time ever seeing these teams. For me as a coach … the nice thing is these kids all get along. They all have great attitudes. They all work really hard.”

Johnson had a hat trick to lead Liberty in its victory against Juanita.

Liberty got a battle from Juanita, which has just one league victory this season. Juanita took the lead three times in the game, but Liberty always answered with a tying goal.

“The first half we really just kind of struggled,” Johnson said. “We weren’t really focused in the warm up … but then we started putting things together, talking more, playing as a team and just competing.”

Juanita scored first at the 25th minute on a goal by Sara Holden. Liberty’s Shannon Daly knotted the score a minute later with an unassisted goal. Juanita went ahead 2-1 on a goal by Karissa Radke at the 36th minute, but Johnson, assisted by Kimi Fry, tied the score on a goal at the 37th minute. The teams were tied 2-2 at halftime.

Radke put Juanita ahead for the last time on a goal three minutes into the second half.

Johnson, assisted by Kiana Hafferty, tied the score at the 62nd minute. Nicolle Marlow, assisted by Fry, put Liberty ahead for good at the 71st minute.

“We would love to finish this league strong,” Giger said. “I always say we want to get better every single game, and that was the frustrating thing about tonight. We didn’t get better.”

Johnson gave the Patriots some breathing room three minutes later with her third goal.

“We don’t like being down,” she said. “As you can tell from our standings, we don’t like to lose. Once we got scored on we just got fired up. We had the right mentality.”

Liberty went to 12-0-0 in league play and 13-1 on the season.

Giger said she’s proud of the way to team has come together this season — on and off the field.

“The thing about these girls is that they’re nice to each other,” she said. “They all have the right attitudes.”

The Patriots conclude their regular season next week, playing at Mercer Island Oct. 25 before returning home Oct. 27 to host second-place Interlake.

Patriots blank Kangaroos

Johnson scored two first-half goals to lead the Patriots past Lake Washington on Oct. 18.

Johnson’s first goal, assisted by Kali Youngdahl, came just eight minutes into the game. Three minutes later Johnson, assisted by Hafferty, scored again.

Daly, assisted by Fry, scored Liberty’s final goal at the 65th minute.

The shutout was the seventh of the season for Liberty goalkeeper Macaire Ament.

Christina Lords: 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcastle@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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