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Liberty gets best of Lewis-Palmer in boys' soccer 4-1
Liberty and Lewis-Palmer may not have been playing a boys’ soccer game that meant anything for conference standings Saturday afternoon, but the intensity and high level of play matched the best of rivalries.
The host 5A Lancers came away with a 4-1 win, but the bigger story is that each team looks to be talented enough to make a lot of noise in this season.
Liberty (2-2-1) would break the ice just 5 minutes into the game when Kyle Spillane beat L-P goalkeeper Fabio Eickmeier between his legs from close-range after a breakaway resulting from a turnover.
“When we get going our offense can be very explosive when we string passes together and get into space,” Spillane said. “We have firepower everywhere, from the top to the middle and even with our defense and it’s real nice to have multiple scorers.”
The next 15 minutes saw each team get a multitude of scoring chances, but each keeper stood tall. Eickmeier and Liberty’s Kyle Krumm took turns making diving saves and keeping their teams in the game.
With the next goal being huge, Liberty seized control of the game. Matt Love beat Eickmeier to his right and snuck the ball past the post and a sliding Ranger defender in the 22nd minute.
Just 4 minutes later, Taylor Whited scored on a laser from 25 yards out that found the net off the post. The strong first-half effort showed just how dangerous the Lancers can be — on both ends of the field.
“Kyle was really focused today and we’re sorry we couldn’t get him a shutout there in the first half because he kept us in the game early when both teams had some good shots,” Liberty coach Gregg Braha said. “I think the team feels when Kyle is back there that they can make a mistake and get away with it because he’s there.”
Lewis-Palmer (1-2) never backed down in the game, even when it seemed like every great scoring chance was thwarted by a spectacular save. The 4A Rangers struck for their lone goal with just 6 seconds left in the first half when Brendan Heer’s shot ricocheted off the goal post and past Krumm.
“I loved the resolve of our boys; obviously we’re not happy with the result, but this is part of the learning process,” L-P coach Brian Barkey said.
The second half saw more chippy play and hard fouls than tallies on the scoreboard. In the 68th minute Josh Holley scored from 35 yards out with a shot that just cleared Eickmeier’s reach to put the hard-fought game out of reach.
The Rangers fell short Saturday, but help is on the way. After the midway point in the season, three junior transfers — including one of the team captains, Casey O’Conner — will join the team after fulfilling the transfer requirements.
“It’s great that we will get those guys, but the here and now is that we felt like our last two games were both games that we could win,” Barkey said. “We gave up some dumb goals against Ponderosa and we gave away some dumb goals today as well, even though we played better.”