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Soccer preview: Liberty girls

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It's a family affair

By Mike Forster

  When an opposing team attempts to score on Liberty this year, it will have to work through a lot of sisters.

Goalkeeper Jillian Blackburn will get support from center fullback Miranda Blackburn, her older sister.

The other center fullback, Andrea Scruggs, will be flanked on the defensive line by Julia Scruggs, her little sis.

Jillian Blackburn has shown herself to be pretty fearless between the pipes.  "We're thrilled to have her there," said Liberty Lady Minutemen Head Coach Jeff Steele.  "And Miranda has the best field awareness...and a great clearing kick."

The Scruggs sisters are noted for their aggressive play and their speedy feet.

The two sets of siblings will be joined by senior Brittany Eade.  She's tall and wins a lot of balls out of the air.  She'll also be a huge asset on corner kicks.

The captain of this ship is Kiley Bartholomew, a returning All-Seminole first teamer.  Lining up at center midfield, she's expected to rally the team and get things going.

She'll be joined at center mid by Hannah Overstreet, who'll take more of a defensive posture, but is a proven solid distributor of the ball.

Steele has the most depth at outside midfield.  Mariel Messier looks to rack up most of her minutes from that position, but she's also proven to be able to play virtually anywhere on the field.  And is able to play quite well.  Messier is the Swiss Army knife of this crowd.

Logan Beyers, very athletic, and Angela Rowan, who started quite a bit last year, will also see quality minutes.

Steele has a two-headed threat on the attack.  Junior Laura Garbarini and freshman Lizzie Boone are speedy and elusive.  Garbarini's first goal this year came off a pass by Boone.

Garbarini scored four goals in Liberty's 5-0 win over Heritage.  No doubt, she has a nose for the goal.

Boone is young and talented.  She, too, could plug into a number of slots.

No matter who plays where, Steele is confident the players will work well together.  "You can pick your friends, but not your family," he notes.  "That's what you've got with a team.  We have a common mission.

"[We have] a family concept, both figuratively and literally," said Steele.  "By blood or desire, [the team members] want to be there for each other."