The Liberty Hawks girls soccer team came away with a 4-1 victory behind two goals by Sevin Moreno against in-town rivals Madera South at Liberty.
“Coming into tonight’s game, there is a lot of pride at stake here because we are all from Madera, so there are some bragging rights there,” Liberty head coach Eric Walker said. “It was a good win for us tonight, but we have Clovis East coming up next week and then we get into league.”
The Hawks were led the trio of Holly Strong, Brooke Wristen and Moreno, who combined for four goals and three assists, in the Dec. 21 victory. The three Hawks dictated the game after goals in the 21st and 25th minutes gave Liberty the momentum they needed to control the game.
“I think we could do a little more with our style of play,” Walker said. “I think we are trying to rush things too much and we’re not settling the ball like we should be, but it was a good result to go into Christmas with, and hopefully, we can build on that for our game versus Clovis East.”
Sara Garibay also contributed an assist as the sophomore forward continues to develop into one of the Hawks’ playmakers.
While the Hawks earned the victory, another important aspect of their 4-1 win was everyone got a chance to see the pitch.
“We’ve been in a lot of games that have been kind of close and you kind of see some things, even the simplest change will help tweak things for you,” Walker said. “When we can get a good lead and find playing time for players that may not get it, it helps us.”
The Stallions, on the other hand, couldn’t get their game plan going throughout the match. Whether it was passing from the back to the midfield or the midfield to the attacking front, the Stallions were out of sync.
However, despite the adversity the Stallions fought till the very end. Kayla Gutierrez was the beneficiary as she knocked in a goal at the end.
After Moreno opened the scoring in the 19th minute, Liberty got on the board two more times in the first half after the Hawks build-up play gave way to a chance for Wristen inside the penalty area. Wristen didn’t have much of an angle for a shot, but the forward powered the ball directly towards goalkeeper Jatzelle Salaza,r who couldn’t make the save, allowing the ball to squirt past her into the goal.
The Hawks never let up, leading 2-0 as Moreno’s aggressiveness awarded her an opportunity on goal as she dribbled with purpose towards the Salazar. Moreno sent her close-range shot past Salazar for a 3-0 lead.
Gutierrez pulled one back for the Stallions in the 53rd minute after her close-range shot proved costly for the Hawks, but they would find an answer.
Strong got on the scoresheet after she dribbled into the opponent half before firing away from close to 30 yards out. The ball carried over the outstretch hands of keeper Melani Rinder and into the back of the net for the score.
Liberty had their fourth goal and the game-ender as the Stallions were unable to muster another goal.