Tie with Mount Hebron suits Liberty just fine

Lions rally in 2nd half, catch No. 13 Vikings, 2-2

Girls soccer

September 05, 2002|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Liberty girls soccer coach Lee Kestler rarely likes anything but victories. But after his young Lions controlled play during the final part of the game and rallied for a 2-2 tie with No. 13 Mount Hebron yesterday at Mount Hebron, Kestler just couldn't stop smiling.

"This is a great first start," Kestler said after the season opener for both teams. "We had so many unknowns, so that's a great way to start against a quality team like that."

Liberty's Jenna Keyser scored with just under four minutes left in regulation to force overtime. After some initial confusion between the officials (who mistakenly thought it was a preseason game) and the two coaches about whether there would be extra time, the teams played two 10-minute periods of sudden-death overtime and remained deadlocked when finished.

The Lions lost several players from last year's Carroll County championship team and wondered how they'd fare at the start of this season.

But Liberty dominated play for the final 15 minutes of regulation and throughout the overtime as Mount Hebron appeared to tire.

"We played an awesome game," Keyser said. "It's quite an accomplishment to tie this team. We'll take it."

The visiting Lions twice had to rally from one-goal deficits. Mount Hebron midfielder Emma Gormley scored the first two goals of her varsity career, the second of which gave the Vikings a 2-1 lead eight minutes into the second half.

But Liberty stepped up the pace as the Vikings slowly ran out of gas in the latter stages of the second half and overtime. The Lions came up with several scoring chances but either missed or had Mount Hebron goalie Courtney Zgraggen (11 saves) make a big stop.

Liberty, however, wound up getting one chance too many. Kim Fioriani made a perfect cross from the left wing that snaked its way through a maze of players into the box and right to Keyser. The junior easily tapped it in for the game-tying score.

Mount Hebron coach Willie Ibarra said that Zgraggen came up big in the game, especially when Liberty pushed hard in the second half. Zgraggen made a number of spectacular saves that frustrated the Lions.

"Courtney played a great game, and she kept us in that game," Ibarra said. "She's really good in those one-on-one situations."

The Vikings scored on a looping 15-yard shot by Gormley in the 16th minute.

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