LHHS beats Leander Glenn, Lampasas in consecutive 5-0 shutouts
By Paul Livengood
The last time Liberty Hill played Leander Glenn was theatrical to say the least. The Feb. 2nd matchup between the two teams at Glenn High School featured a mountain of yellow cards, a red card, and a game-winning Dawson Carroll goal with five minutes to play.
Liberty Hill won the first meeting between the two schools that day, 3-2. Tuesday night was an even more successful night for the Panthers. Liberty Hill routed Leander Glenn 5-0, tallying the team’s sixth conference win this season.
“I think we weren’t caught off guard and surprised this time,” Head Coach Darren Bauer said. “We knew they would come out and fight. We also made some tactical changes defensively that kind of switched off what they were doing against us in the first game. Between those changes and the fact that we weren’t surprised by them this time made a big difference.”
Mason Dube opened the stat book for Liberty Hill in the opening minute of the match, and the Panthers found themselves on the other end of the 0-1 deficit they were in against the Grizzlies in their first matchup.
Jordan Schwingendorf added to the Panther lead with a strike on goal after a mistouch on the clearance attempt by the Grizzlies backline.
The next three goals occurred in the second half of the game. Bryce Stratton, junior midfielder, volleyed a feed from Colton Walter into the right upper sector of the net after some combination play with Walter and the other midfielders. The goal was Stratton’s seventh goal of the year, which is a career-high single-season mark for the junior (one goal in 2014-15, six goals in 2015-16).
Dawson Carroll struck the right upper 90, too. Carroll set up a free kick from 25 yards away, dead center with the goal. Carroll bent the ball around and over the Leander Glenn wall and into a spot where the Grizzlies’ goalie had no chance of making a play on the ball.
Mason Shipley scored the last goal of the game, and his second career goal, in the 76th minute.
“It’s great,” Bauer said of Shipley’s recent scoring. “The good thing is that (Mason) is coming along. One of his problems has been how much he steps, when he steps, how fast he steps, and today he got the goal because he was there and he pressured. He just capitalized on the mistake by them, which is what we want. It’s great because it gives him confidence moving forward and hopefully it keeps building.”
Liberty Hill won 5-0, and Parker Sargent completed the seventh shutout of the season.
“The big thing with the past two, three, or four games is (Sargent) has become a lot more aggressive,” Bauer said. “Earlier in the year, we talked to him to try to get him to be more aggressive and not worry about who is in front of him. He has to be that aggressive goalkeeper that will go through people and he’s starting to do that. On some of the shots, he’s coming off his line a little bit more to take away the angle. I think that extra aggression has helped us get those couple of recent shutouts.”
The Panthers won with ease last Friday against the Lampasas Badgers, winning by a final score of 5-0.
Pedro Silva, senior forward, scored two goals, while Michael Shipley, Mason Shipley, and Schwingendorf each had one. Stratton led the game with two assists. Silva and Chase Franklin, senior defenseman, each dished one assist, as well.
Liberty Hill has won seven of its past eight matches, with the sole loss dropped to Salado on Feb. 15. Bauer feels his team is starting to look better as they move forward to the end of the district schedule.
“Moving forward, we just have to keep fine tuning some things,” Bauer said. “Our defense has let us down in a couple games, and I think we’ve kind of fixed those problems. So as long as we keep taking steps forward from here on out through district and getting ready for the playoffs, we should be good.”
The Panthers take the field next against the Florence Buffaloes on the road Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m.