Pressured Liberty loses to T.J., 4-0 Frederick school offsets earlier 1-0 loss to Lions

November 06, 1997|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FREDERICK -- After two years of nearly perfect soccer, things fell apart last night for Liberty.

Samantha Meyers had one goal and two assists and teammate Ashley Hull added two assists as host Thomas Johnson dominated No. 2-ranked Liberty for a 4-0 victory in the Class 3A-4A West region championship.

The loss ended Liberty's hopes for a second straight state title. This was the Patriots' first victory over Liberty this decade -- and possibly the first in 13 years.

Thomas Johnson advanced to the state semifinal tomorrow night at Severna Park against the No. 6-ranked Falcons.

Liberty (15-2-1), which shared the Class 1A-2A state title with South River last year and was 30-1-4 since the start of last season, appeared to be peaking coming into this game. The Lions scored nine goals in their two other playoff games, routs of Frederick and Perry Hall. But that offense never got started last night.

Thomas Johnson (16-1-1) pressured the Lions all over the field and broke the game open with a three-goal second half -- including two scores just 24 seconds apart.

Liberty, which had allowed only seven goals in its first 17 games, got solid defensive play from Jen Berarducci, Erica Gordon, Colleen Cox and Kelly Knutson. But the Patriots just had too many chances and got revenge for their lone loss of the season -- a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Liberty.

"We just seemed to be on our heels," said Liberty coach Sam DeLaurence. "They won all the balls, [and] we just couldn't get untracked offensively."

Thomas Johnson outshot the Lions, 12-4, and allowed them few offensive chances. The Patriots got an excellent performance from midfielder Meyers, one of the state's top players, who wreaked havoc throughout the game.

"We tried to get so much pressure on them that the only way they could get the ball out was under duress," said Thomas Johnson coach Chuck Nichols. "That was the only choice we had."

Freshman Lauren Griffee opened the scoring by redirecting a Hull corner kick 11: 42 in.

The Patriots kept the pressure on but could not score the rest of the half.

They blew the game open during the second half. At the 9: 45 mark, Missy Berezuk, off a pass from Meyers, floated in a beautiful 25-yard shot.

Thomas Johnson stretched the lead to 3-0 with 20: 52 left when Meyers headed Hull's pass off a post and in. Mollie Merkel added the final goal 24 seconds later.

"They played really well," said Gordon. "It just wasn't our night."

Pub Date: 11/06/97

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