Girls Soccer Loses to Lafayette After Hard-Fought Battle

Liberty had an altogether positive season this year regardless of the end to their run


Sydney Davis

Junior forward Lola Gianino winds up to fire a shot on goal.

Gavin Block, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Ledger

The Eagles girls soccer team put up a good fight in their state quarterfinal match against Lafayette (Wildwood) but unfortunately could not manage to advance.

Liberty’s varsity squad played the Lancers on Saturday night, May 27, after being crowned district champions following their 3-0 triumph in the final versus Francis Howell Central on May 19. It was their first district title since 2019 and the second in school history.

The Eagles went into the game with an overall record of 18-4-2, while their opponents were 17-3.

The first half saw seniors Rachel Skyberg and Morgan Struttmann orchestrate most of the plays. In this period of time, the red-white-and-blues seemed to have slightly more of an attacking advantage.

Liberty’s fan section celebrates in the stands, with family members holding up signs with players’ faces on them. (Sydney Davis)

Seemingly against the run of play, however, Lafayette scored in the 17th minute. Junior goalkeeper Sydney Strassemeier went out to pounce on the ball and gain back control but was evaded, leaving only a Liberty defender in goal, and the Lancers capitalized.

Lafayette doubled their lead seven minutes later in a play with a pass to the right side and the scorer in a virtually open position.

Liberty had to keep up the physicality against the mostly larger opposition they faced. As a result, Lafayette owned the aerial game.

“They were bigger and a lot taller than us,” said head coach Heidi Kleekamp.

The second half could be regarded as when the Eagles started to dominate.

The Lancers had an alarming chance in the first minute with a player one-on-one with Strassemeier. She tried the lob over, but it went just wide of the left post.

Junior forward Lola Gianino kept Liberty still in the argument with a goal in the 10th minute. Beating out a few players with her strength, she took a well-placed shot that went past the reach of the Lafayette goalkeeper and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

A cross from Struttmann in the 17th minute almost looked to be going in, but it narrowly traveled across the crossbar.

An equalizing goal for the Eagles in the 21st minute came after a cross from the right side and the Lancers’ goalkeeper spilling the ball, leading to a defender facing the goal and with a forward on her trying to clear it but ultimately scoring an own goal.

Just six minutes later, Lafayette earned a corner from the right side. The ball glided to a player near the far post, and she headed it in to give their team the lead once again.

In the last minute of the half, Liberty gained an auspicious corner, but this chance was headed out by a defender.

The fiercely contested match concluded as a 3-2 victory for the Lancers, who will meet Nerinx Hall in the state semifinals on Friday, June 2.

Despite the defeat, Liberty had a lot of good to look back on this season. They had won districts for the second time in school history, and the squad had an overall great run and had been in winning form for most of the year.

“It sucks that we lost tonight, but I’m really proud of this team,” senior midfielder Molly Linck expressed. “I’m proud that we made it this far because we have not done that the whole time any of us have been here, and it’s only our second district win.”