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Saturday, November 17, 2012 - Page updated at 08:00 p.m.
Liberty, Holy Names fall in 3A semifinals | Girls Soccer
By Sandy Ringer
Seattle Times staff reporter
PUYALLUP — Coach Tami Nguyen would do it all over again.
All her Liberty High School girls soccer team needed was one more penalty kick against Columbia River to advance to the Class 3A state championship game for the second straight year.
Nguyen entrusted the shot to senior Kiana Hafferty.
But Columbia River keeper Haley Case came up with a save to extend the game, and the Chieftains went on to take a 2-1 shootout victory (5-4 on PKs) Friday at Sparks Stadium.
Fourth-ranked Columbia River (18-0-2) plays No. 2 Mount Spokane (20-0) for the title at 2 p.m. Saturday. Liberty (14-4-1) faces No. 7 Holy Names (15-6-2) at 10 a.m. for third and fourth.
No. 5 Liberty led River 4-3 on penalty kicks when Nguyen turned to Hafferty, who spent extra time at every practice on PKs. In fact, she stayed 15 minutes after Thursday's session to work on them.
Nguyen, a former standout player and club coach in her first season at Liberty, didn't second-guess her decision.
"If I had to pick anyone, I'd still pick her again," Bennett said. "The keeper probably just guessed right."
The Patriots (14-4-1), who lost last year's title game to Seattle Prep, took the lead in the 26th minute on a Tara Johnson goal off Katie Noonan's throw-in — only the fifth goal Columbia River has allowed all season. They dominated play well into the second half, but didn't get anything more to show for it. Maddie Reynolds finally pulled Columbia River even in the 69th minute.
Neither team scored in two overtime sessions, leading to the shootout.
"It's just a hard way to lose," Nguyen said.
Especially when the opportunity was there to win, thanks to a save by Liberty keeper Amy Ellenberg on Columbia River's third PK try.
But the Patriots missed their final three attempts, the last two sailing wide. Columbia River also missed an opportunity wide before Chopp ended things.
Nguyen lamented the lack of scoring during regulation.
"We just didn't capitalize on our chances," she said. "But it's just a fabulous group of girls. I feel like we gave it everything we could today, and that's just how soccer works out sometimes."
It was a measure of revenge for Columbia River, which lost 2-1 to Liberty in the opening round of last year's state tournament.
Mount Spokane 2, Holy Names 0
The Cougars, who had an eight-game win streak snapped, were in the semifinals for the first time since 2007 and their lack of experience showed.
"We're a lot better than what we did tonight," coach Teddy Mitalas said. "They're just not used to being here. ... They were gun-shy. We just need a little more oomph in there, a little more heart. But I'm proud of the girls this year. I told them all year they're a good team. I didn't think we'd get here, to be honest with you."
The Wildcats got the only goal they needed in the 26th minute when a header by Alyssa Lloyd went off the fingertips of keeper Kayla Baskett and Madison Boyd was there to drill it home. They went up 2-0 in the 54th minute on an own goal as the ball bounced off Baskett and another Holy Names defender.
The Cougars had several scoring opportunities in the second half, but couldn't get the ball past Mount Spokane keeper Shannon McReynolds.
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