Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty midfielder Holly Strong works the ball up the field for the Hawks against Clovis West.
After last year’s 1-1 tie, the Clovis West Golden Eagles took advantage of their speed to run by the Liberty Hawks girls soccer team for a 5-0 victory at Liberty.
The Golden Eagles scored two goals in the first half and added three more in the second half in a battle of Div. I and Div. III teams Tuesday.
“We’ve only been together for two weeks,” Liberty head coach Erick Walker said. “We’re still trying to figure out everybody’s strengths and weaknesses and where to put them. Last year, we played them later in the month so we had more time to jell. We’re still trying to put people where they belong.”
If Walker was looking for another reason for Tuesday’s loss, all he had to do was look at players sitting on his bench in lettermen’s jackets — three-year starters Jamie Lewis, Johanna Lewis and Zoey Richey — nursing knee injuries.
“That hurts with those players on the bench. It’s a little hard,” Walker said. “We have other players that can step up into positions. We have two that should be coming back soon. We want to get them in there so they can jell more.”
Walker is anticipating the return of Jamie Lewis later this month after she was injured near the end of last season’s Div. III Valley Championship run. Another player, Annie Allen, should be back by the end of the week to give his small bench another player.
The Hawks held possession for most of the first half, although Clovis West had the best opportunities. Just a minute in the game, goalkeeper Trinity McGuire came out for a save on a one-on-one opportunity.
Liberty has its best chance eight minutes into the match when Holly Strong shot on goal. The ball was blocked out and Ali Alvarez’s rebound shot went over the net. Strong shot wide on a shot in the 13th minute and Raina Wristen shot just wide into the left corner.
In the 23rd minute, on the counter to Wristen’s missed shot, Clovis West beat a Liberty defender and shot under McGuire for the first goal of the match.
With three minutes left in the first half, Clovis West took the ball to the end line, crossed it back to the middle and shot into the right side of the net by a diving McGuire for a 2-0 lead.
Freshman Sarah Shevenell stepped in goal for McGuire, who left with a back injury, and challenged a Clovis West attack, but the attacker got the into the net for a 3-0 lead.
In the 26th minute, Wristen, with two Clovis West defenders guarding her, turned on them, dribbled to goal in front and shot just wide of the goal.
Clovis West scored two goals on crosses in a two minute span for the 5-0 victory.
Liberty plays in San Luis Obispo today and next plays at San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno on Tuesday.