Kiana Hafferty scored twice as the Patriots, last year's state runners-up, advanced to the state semifinals with a convincing victory.
SUMNER — Her team led Bonney Lake 2-0 early in their Class 3A girls soccer quarterfinal match Saturday and had dominated first-half play. Yet, Liberty coach Tami Nguyen felt her players needed reassurance at halftime despite a 2-1 lead.
Liberty led last year’s state final 2-0 before falling 3-2 to Seattle Prep.
“When the score went 2-1 (against Bonney Lake), you could just see it (the memory) creep back into their minds,” Nguyen said. “Some of them were talking at halftime, ‘We can’t lose this again.’ “
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Not this time.
Liberty added an insurance goal in the 62nd minute and defeated Bonney Lake 3-1 at Sunset Chev Stadium to advance to the state semifinals. The fifth-ranked Patriots (14-3-1) will face No. 4 Columbia River (17-0-2) of Vancouver at 2 p.m. Friday at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium.
“This is a new team, a new day,” said Nguyen, the former Tami Bennett, who ranks second in career goals (34) at the University of Washington.
“Going back to last year doesn’t matter. I want them to erase that.”
Liberty erased Bonney Lake (13-5-1) by outshooting the Panthers 20-6 (12-2 in the first half) and controlling the match’s tempo.
Liberty’s Nicolle Marlow scored in the 17th minute on a 30-yard blast into the upper-left corner. Four minutes later, Kiana Hafferty knocked in a 15-yard shot for a 2-0 lead.
Yet when Bonney Lake’s Andrea Bowman scored on a free kick in the 32nd minute, uneasiness overtook the Patriots.
“There’s always that fear from last year,” said Hafferty, who slid a 15-yard grounder just inside the far post for Liberty’s third goal. “We’re doing our best to not let that happen again, so I’m feeling pretty good right now.”
So is Nguyen.
“They believe in themselves,” the first-year coach said of the Patriots.
“I just don’t want them to doubt themselves at any point in a game. I’m confident. If we show up, play our style and get after it, I think we have a great shot (at state).”