Liberty girls soccer team takes out Chieftains, Seagulls to reach semifinals

November 15, 2011

By Christina Lords

Kiana Hafferty, Liberty High School junior forward, threatens to score again in the second period against Columbia River Nov. 9 after giving the Patriots the early lead in a 2-1 victory. By Greg Farrar

It has been a while but the Liberty High School girls soccer team has reached the Class 3A state semifinals again.

Liberty defeated Columbia River, 2-1, Nov. 9 in the first round of the state tournament, and then downed Everett, 2-0, Nov. 12 in the quarterfinals.

The Patriots, 17-1-0, meet Eastside Catholic at 4 p.m. Nov. 18 in the semifinals at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium. Meadowdale and Seattle Prep meet in the other semifinal at 2 p.m. The winners play for the state title at 2 p.m. Nov. 19 and the losers meet at 10 a.m. to settle third and fourth place.

This is the fourth time Liberty has reached the semifinals. The last time was in 2001, when the Patriots fell to West Valley of Yakima, 2-0. Liberty also lost to Lakeside, 2-1, on a shootout in 2000, and fell to Highline, 2-1, on a shootout in 1998. Each time the Patriots finished third in the tournament.

The KingCo Conference 3A/2A champions reached the Final Four thanks to its victory against visiting Everett.

Cassidy Nangle scored a pair of second-half goals for the Patriots.

Playing in a steady, soaking drizzle, Nangle, a University of Oklahoma recruit, took a cross from Kali Youngdahl in the 52nd minute and connected on a shot from five yards out. Nangle added an insurance goal 20 minutes later. She had 15 goals in the season.

In the victory against Columbia River, junior Kiana Hafferty gave the Patriots a quick 1-0 spark less than a minute into the first half.

But even with the stellar start and eventual 2-1 win advancing them to the quarterfinal round of the 3A state tournament, Nangle, a senior player and co-captain of the team, said the game wasn’t without its imperfections.

“It’s definitely hard without having about a week and a half without a game,” she said. “I felt like in the first half we might have come out a little stagnant.”

Despite the aggressive pace set by the Chieftains throughout the first half, Liberty was able to maintain the 1-0 lead into halftime.

“They’re a good team. I wouldn’t take that away from them at all,” Nangle said. “But with the heart on this team, we got it done.”

Easton Kawawaki, a Chieftain sophomore, kicked a goal past Patriot keeper Macaire Ament four minutes into the second half.

“This team this year, out of all the years I’ve been in high school, there’s an energy,” Nangle said. “You can’t explain it. With that energy, I feel like we can come out and beat any team as long as we have it in our minds.”

Nangle, outpacing several Chieftain defenders, answered back with a game-winning goal for the Patriots.

“Any circumstance where you’re tied in a game like this, especially a playoff game, is going to be stressful,” she said. “But I saw the space and I took it. Luckily, I had the composure to get the goal.”

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