Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Eric Halverson (22) congratulates Charlie Smith after he scored a goal in the second half. Halverson scored two first half goals in a 4-0 victory over Sierra on Monday.
The Liberty Hawks boys soccer team scored two goals in the first half and two more in the second half to defeat the Sierra-Tollhouse Chieftains in a North Sequoia League match.
“Honestly, they have been playing great.” Liberty head coach Leonard Escalante said after Monday’s match. “They’re jelling. It’s working out good and the score reflects that. I just told them to keep it up and don’t stop.”
Eric Halverson, Charlie Smith and Jose Maravilla combined to give the Hawks a dominating win. Their ability to link up in the opponent final third allowed the Hawks to put two past the Chieftains in both halves.
Although the goals were the story, Liberty goalkeeper Mitchell Bennett made a strong case with his clean sheet.
Physically, Bennett was a rock in goal, but also his communication was an area that Liberty had the advantage. Whether it was the defenders sitting directly in front of him or the midfield working tirelessly down the field, Bennett provided a sense of leadership the Hawks no doubt capitalized on.
The Hawks got on the board early. Within the first 15 minutes, Halverson put his first one in the net after the ball was crossed into him where he accurately slotted the ball home for the opening score.
Halfway through the first half, Halverson bagged his second of the game after Smith fed Halverson inside the penalty area, where he finished for the 2-0 lead.
Liberty continued to pile it on in the second half.
The Hawks made it 3-0 after Smith buried his first goal of the game after he provided an assist in the first half. Sierra allowed the Hawks too much space in the penalty area, leading to Smith’s simple right-footed finish.
Maravilla made it four goals for Liberty after he called his own number. After recollecting possession in the midfield, Maravilla made a solo run down the pitch. He dribbled around a defender before he took on the keeper by himself and he slid the ball past the keeper’s outstretched leg.