The Eagles Defeat the Crusaders for the First Time in History

The girls soccer team shut out the St. Dominic 2-0 for the first time in school history


Monica Reyes

Morgan Struttmann (11) takes a shot on goal in a previous game. Struttmann scored the first of two goals against St. Dominic and has scored 18 goals so far this season.

Ally Schniepp, Sports Editor of the Ledger

Senior defenseman Amira Khayyat wasn’t expecting to win this game. After all, the Crusaders hadn’t lost to a local area team since 2019 and they have won 64 out of their last 68 games, including all previous matches against Liberty. All Khayyat knew was she was going to play as hard as she could and keep her mark from scoring. 

“I knew that it was going to be a tough game and I knew I would be marking one of their two best forwards,” Khayyat said of her mindset going into the game. “My job was just to shut down those girls and make sure everyone was doing their job as well.”

On Tuesday, April 26, the varsity girls soccer team conquered St. Dominic, ending their long-time reign over Liberty and other local schools and becoming Liberty’s seventh victory in a row. Junior Morgan Struttmann changed the pace of the game in the third minute of the second half by putting the ball past the Crusaders’ keeper, breaking the scoring drought and inspiring sophomore Rainie Corgan to get a goal of her own less than a minute later.

A win against any quality team is a great feeling. Ending Dominic’s winning streak felt a little extra special because a lot of people think they are just too good to beat,” Coach Kleekamp said. “We discussed the importance of stepping onto the field knowing we are just as good as them. If we play our best and compete, then we can win.”

The players took that speech to heart and went onto the field hungry for a win. St. Dominic has always won against Liberty, and the rivalry is real after the past few years have been extremely close games, with the exception of last season. Three years ago, Liberty had the game in the palm of their hands when they were up 2-0, and let it slip away in the last minutes of the game that resulted in the Crusaders moving onto the next level of postseason play instead of the Eagles. Many freshmen, who are now seniors, have always remembered that game and used it to fuel their gameplay against St. Dominic this season.

We kind of had to explain to the lowerclassmen that we had just made history because we hadn’t ever beaten St. Dominic in the girls’ program, ever,” Khayyat said. Khayyat had played in the sectional game when they lost to St. Dominic her freshman year at Liberty, and couldn’t be more ecstatic about being on the team to take down the Crusader’s streak. 

“It’s definitely a crazy feeling because honestly it was scary when we were up 2-0 because of what happened freshman year, but this year was obviously a lot different,” Khayyat said. “We had the momentum through the whole game, and we didn’t have any let ups on defense. I’m insanely proud of our team.”

Struttmann, the leading goal scorer for the Eagles and recent commit to the University of Alabama, fired away shot after shot after shot on offense, and it paid off in the second half. Struttmann leads the team with 18 goals and 14 assists, with Maddie Lipp following close behind with 12 assists.

Struttmann doesn’t like to lose,” Kleekamp said. “She’s looking for opportunities to shoot but she is also always looking for opportunities to feed the ball to others. Our players feed off of her intensity and drive.” 

Last season, Struttmann was a leader in assists last season as well, with 24 assists. Struttmann had the chance to play with Liberty alum Chloe Netzel for Netzel’s senior season in which she scored 54 goals and had 19 assists. Struttmann seems to be following closely in Netzel’s footsteps as she committed to play Division 1 soccer as a junior, much like Netzel did her junior year at Liberty. 

Going forward as a team, the Eagles are going to remember this take down of the reigning two-time state champions. With this win comes a better reputation for the program and it is a warning to other schools that, although Liberty is still young, the Eagles can take down any school.