Girls wrap up first round of district soccer 6-0

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By Lance Catchings

The Liberty Hill girls’ soccer team (13-1-2) finished up the first round of 27-4A district play with an 8-0 shutout of Lampasas on a misty Tuesday night.

Liberty Hill led the Lady Badgers 5-0 at halftime as they cruised to the victory.

“Against Lampasas, it is just more of the same stuff we needed to do to do be successful,” Head Coach Darren Bauer said. “We had to wait and see if they come out defensive right away or not, and there is a good chance that they might. There were a couple of teams that did that early in the season with Fredericksburg and Wimberley both taking that approach. The girls have had to learn to come out and play against it. If we can keep working and take what they give us, we felt we would be alright.”

Liberty Hill blew out rival Burnet Friday night on the road 11-0. Liberty Hill went into halftime with a 6-0 lead and never looked back. Sophomore Athena Brown led the charge, scoring three goals. Brooke Briscoe, Lauren Castillo and Madi Fuller each had two. Piper Tabor and Camilla Kouakou each scored one goal. Katie Wilson led the team with three assists, and Fuller had two. Kendal James, Kouakou, Brown, Boliek, Tabor and Briscoe each had one assist.

“We came out against Burnet fast and created some opportunities right off the bat,” Bauer said. “We scored early on in that game and made it 4-0 within the first 15 minutes of the game. The girls did a good job making sure we put the game away early and then calmed down and worked on possession. We have some injuries and people sick, so it was nice to get up early and get some of our players rest while giving our younger ones some playing time.”

The girls have dominated every district opponent through the first round, and Bauer feels the team is staying mentally sharp.

“Mentally, I think we are doing well,” he said. “There were games last year where we were not as sharp during district play as we have been this year. That is due to maturity of the sophomores and them bringing other girls along. We also have had good senior leadership this year.”

In six district games, Liberty Hill has posted six shutouts. The dominant effort also allows the opportunity for players to work on different scenarios in real time.

“Our goal is always to have a clean sheet defensively,” Bauer said. “I think the girls have done well, because that is where we have probably made the most changes with our illness and injuries. I think the people that we have moved in have done a good job of filling in for us so far. One of the biggest advantages of our district is the girls can focus more on things we are trying to show them. That is one of the things me and Coach Munger challenge our players on, which is seeing the game different than they’re used to. According to what the other team is doing, we sometimes have to change things, but it allows us to learn a lot more.”

The closest a district opponent has come this season to upsetting Liberty Hill was Salado’s 2-0 loss. Bauer said this was due to their strategy of abandoning almost all offense and playing a defensive game.

“Against Salado, we controlled the entire game, but they came out with a good game plan,” he said. “They sat back in front of the goal and tried to make it as difficult as possible for us. They tried to take us to a tie and eventually go to penalty kicks. We adjusted some things at halftime to make the girls move the ball a little faster. That let us take some more opportunities we normally wouldn’t take. It is a possibility of something we could see in playoffs, first or second round, but after that, I think teams will come out and play the way they want to. The second round of district, I think the teams will take a more defensive approach. So far, we really have not had any surprises through the first round of district play. I am a little surprised Salado sat back as much as they did when we played them. Other than that, it’s about what we have expected.”

Liberty Hill travels to Jarrell Friday to open second round of district play. Liberty Hill defeated Jarrell earlier this season 21-0. They will be back at home next Tuesday night for a match against Florence. Both game times are set for 7:30 p.m.

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