Liberty girls soccer coach Brandon “Boog” Hearron and his Stockdale counterpart Lorne Howlett both walked away a little perplexed on Thursday.
In what felt like an even match for all of about 39 minutes, Liberty came out with a 2-0 victory in Southwest Yosemite League play at home.
Both of the Patriots’ goals came on open-net looks off defensive miscues, as sophomores Haley Heck and Madison McMahon scored in the first 20 minutes of the opening half for the Patriots (10-4-2, 3-0).
“I think that Stockdale probably was a little disappointed to be down 2-0 at halftime,” Hearron said. “I think they were the better team in the first half, but I keep preaching to the girls to score the rebounds and take their opportunities. Soccer is a cruel game and it is what it is. I’ve been on both sides, nice to be on the winning side tonight.”
Howlett, in his first season as the head coach of the Mustangs, felt the same way coming out of the loss for Stockdale (8-4-4, 0-2-1).
“The second (goal by McMahon) was a collision by two of our players who were in possession,” Howlett said. “You can make little mistakes, you can’t make big ones in a game like this against a good team like Liberty.”
But both coaches also were quick to point out that in a hyper-competitive SWYL this season, there is very little wiggle room between any of the six teams.
“Liberty is at the top of the pile and the rest of us are going to be competitive,” Howlett said. “It’s exciting. We will see how it rolls.”
Liberty has now won 17 consecutive matches in SWYL play dating back to a 2-1 loss to Centennial on Jan. 24, 2017 — a year before both sophomores that scored for Liberty began high school.
“At the beginning, we weren’t looking so good,” McMahon said. “But now we are picking it up and playing as a team.”
Stockdale had a great look at a goal in the first half, as Haley Obenshein passed to Kiersten “Kiki” Silva who took the shot, but Liberty goalkeeper Megan Lynch flew to her right to make a diving save.
“I thought it was in,” Howlett said. “But she made the save.”
On an evening where one goal early on for either team set the tone, so did the match in terms of the next four weeks in league play.
“The league has great, high quality coaches,” Hearron said. “Look at the results. Everyone is just nipping at each other’s buds. I don’t think it’s going to be an undefeated year for anybody.”
Liberty lost junior defender Kiara Oliver for the season to a knee injury two weeks ago, and junior forward Cynthia "Tiny" Flores is out for two weeks with an injury of her own. Both were BVarsity All-Area players a year ago.
Heck also left the game late in the second half with a bloody nose after colliding with Stockdale sophomore Kristin Ramirez going for a header.