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Liberty shuts down Centennial 4-0 in girls soccer

After failing to score in its season opener, the Liberty girls soccer team has started to find its offensive rhythm early in the young season.

Ellie Gore and Madison McMahon netted goals in the first 14 minutes, Brynn Phillips scored twice in the second half and the Patriot defense shut down the Centennial offense in a 4-0 win at Centennial Wednesday.

Gore needed less than five minutes to get the Patriots on the board, setting the tone for what would become a dominant win.

"It was really nice to get that goal and get the tempo of the game going," Gore said afterwards.

Just over eight minutes later, Liberty would double its lead, as Haley Heck made a great pass to a cutting McMahon, won wiggled past her defender then fired home an open shot.

Phillips then took the reigns in the second half, scoring twice in the first 15 minutes to put the game away.

That was plenty of support for a Patriot defense that completely stymied a Golden Hawk offense that scored three goals in a season-opening shutout of Bakersfield Monday.

The only threat the Golden Hawk offense had in the first 70 minutes was thwarted by Liberty's Aleeyah Sepulveda, who knocked a loose ball away from a Centennial player who was charging towards a wide open net after Patriot goalie Sierrah Smith had been knocked down in a collision. 

After graduating numerous college players, including three Division-I prospects, Centennial coach Tom Ferralli knew his talented, but inexperienced team would take some lumps early on, and expects these struggles will help shape the future of his team.

"Seventy percent of the team is new," Ferralli said. "The whole goal for me this year is to get these girls to mesh. Being as it's a short season, just trying to learn so many new mentalities and attitude and behaviors and skill levels in such a short time ... we're just trying to get them on the same page as fast as we can."

The win extended a streak of Patriot dominance in the matchup. Centennial hasn't beaten Liberty since Jan. 13, 2015, with the Patriots going 10-0-3 against the Golden Hawks in that time.

Liberty is now 2-0-1, scoring seven goals in its last two games after playing to a scoreless tie against Highland in the season opener.

Though happy with the win, Patriot coach Brandon "Boog" Hearron says the result was secondary after all the uncertainty that surrounded the season for so long.

"Right now this really isn't result-oriented, it's more about getting these kids back out and playing," Hearron said. "Being able to be back to Liberty soccer again is awesome. Just being able to do this again for these kids before they graduate, that's a win in itself."