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They struck early. Then, they made it stick.
The Liberty boys soccer team started its season-opening game with Rustburg as if had been waiting to explode.
That's just what the Minutemen did, posting a pair of goals shortly after the match's opening whistle. Those two goals, plus a second half insurance tally, were all the scoring the Minutemen needed in nabbing the 3-0 win on their own turf.
"We knew we had to score and finish in the first 10 minutes," said Liberty Head Coach Eric Seckman. "We were all anxious."
If the team was jittery in this, its opening match, it certainly didn't show it. Particularly when midfielder Ben Stevens struck paydirt just three minutes into the match.
The junior had worked himself into the front of the Liberty attack, from which he drilled a worm-burner of a shot, which skidded just to the right of diving Rustburg goalkeeper Colton Baldridge.
Five minutes later, senior captain Matthew Thompson blasted a shot past Baldridge, sending home a rebound off a Rucker Shipp shot.
That feat was replicated in the second half when Jordan Padgett pounced on a loose ball, driving home the rebound and locking down the final 3-0 tally.
This was the first time in memory where Liberty achieved such a dominant margin of victory over the Red Devils.
"I like how the boys came out on fire and played with intensity," said Coach Seckman. "It's a credit to how hard they've worked the past couple of years."
Nonetheless, Seckman was far from pleased with the performance, citing the need to finish plays better.
"We did not play as well as we could," he noted.
"Still, playing poorly we come out with a 3-0 win."
Yeah. You take those whenever they come your way.
In two of the more stunning developments of the week, Brookville provided fodder for speculation with a pair of ties.
First, the Bees stunned Jefferson Forest, tying the Cavs, 1-1. It was the first time Brookville hadn't lost to the might Foresters since 2003. That was a streak of over 20 straight wins for Jefferson Forest.
Three nights later, it was the Bees who were stunned, as Staunton River overcame a three-goal deficit to snag a 3-3 tie. While there are no records available indicating how long it's been since River managed such a feat, current estimates have it at about the same time Moby, that Great White, took the form of a minnow.
JF Head Coach Jedd Zaring tipped his hat to the Bees. "To Brookville's credit, they were organized, battled with intensity, and did enough to keep us from getting the winner," he noted.
Converted goalkeeper Chris Palazzi shows he'd rather give than receive, as he netted the Cavs first (and only) goal before five minutes had ticked off the clock.
Alas, 75 more minutes would go by without another Cav tally. " We'll continue to work on our attacking principles and raise the expectations on our players for making the correct decisions with the ball so we can become more effective in attack," said Zaring. "Having said that, we did have numerous opportunities to grab a 2nd goal but just didn't take them.
River certainly did. In the second half, the Eagles looked like a different team from the one that had given up three goals in the first half.
With 17 minutes to go, Matt Siggins, on a mad dash, found himself one-on-one with the Brookville keeper. Siggins deftly nailed the lower left corner of the goal.
One minute later, Keelan Guilliams nailed a picture-perfect free kick from 40 yards away, the ball neatly tucking between keeper and crossbar.
Then, with eight minutes left, Guilliams found himself in the box amongst a scrum off a corner kick. He neatly nailed a shot which sailed to the right of the Bee keeper, knotting the score at three, apiece.
The smallish crowd, hampered in its enthusiasm by the frigid temperatures, found its collective self warmed by the outstanding comeback of the gritty Eagles.
For those fans know, if you can hang with Brookville, that says a lot about what this team might do going forward.