Soccer: Liberty washes away Hazen, remains unbeaten

Five different Patriots found the back of the net in the win.

On a rainy Tuesday night at Renton Memorial Stadium, the Liberty Patriots poured it on at the soccer pitch, beating Hazen 5-1.

“It’s great to see them coming together. It’s only game three and we’re still learning. There’s still things to clean up and that’s the most exciting thing,” said Head Coach Ryan Johnson of the Sept. 12 victory.

Last year, Liberty swept the season series, taking down Hazen in both of their meetings and outscoring the Highlanders 6-2.

A season ago, Liberty was a game shy of the state tournament. This season, the on- and off-field chemistry is really strong and the goal is to get to state.

“We’re really on each other at practice. We love each other, work hard and push each other,” said senior Hannah Martret.

Coming into this meeting, neither team had taken a loss this year. Hazen (2-0) had scored ten goals without allowing a goal this season. On the other side, Liberty (1-0-1) took down Everett 4-1 and tied state quarterfinalist Lakeside 3-3 in their first two games of the season.

Patriot freshman Mia Carr slicing the Hazen defense. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Patriot freshman Mia Carr slicing the Hazen defense. Ben Ray / The Reporter

It didn’t take long for Liberty to get good combination play between senior Chloe Smith and Skyla Yu, setting up the Patriots’ first goal. Yu found junior Malia Suehiro at the edge of the six yard box, where she scored the first goal of the game 2 minutes in.

Liberty kept the pressure on and just four minutes later, Suehiro was pressing the Hazen defense once more. This time she was the distributor, as her pass found the feet of Mylene Aguila, cashing in for her first goal of the night.

For the final goal of the first half, Liberty was gifted an opportunity. A Hazen penalty inside the box gave the Patriots a penalty shot. Then senior Carly Whalen went to the keeper’s right and put the Patriots up 3-0 going into halftime.

In the first half, the speed from Aguila, Yu, the Martrets and many others just seemed to be faster than anyone else on the pitch. That speed is a weapon that Liberty hopes to use to their advantage: “As long as we keep moving the ball around, the ball moves faster than we can. If we keep that style, we are very dangerous,” Johnson said.

The fourth goal came right after the second half began, when freshman Adeline Streur put her name on the score sheet in the 43rd minute.

Liberty’s final goal was in the 53rd minute, marking the fifth Patriot to score. Grace Martret, a senior, found open space and put away the Highlanders with a five spot. With five different goal scorers, the Patriots were really flexing their depth.

“There are so many opportunities for other people to play and we have a lot of really strong players … That brings a new dynamic,” Hannah Martret said.

Liberty keeper Peyton Warns with the ball at her feet. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Liberty keeper Peyton Warns with the ball at her feet. Ben Ray / The Reporter

“They’re very talented and we have a lot of versatility in our attack. We can lean on multiple players to produce for us. We have some really quality players,” said Johnson on his roster depth.

Hazen’s one goal came late in the 75th minute on a corner kick from Tamia Browne. It was only the Highlanders’ third corner of the game, but freshman Kalia Walker made it count. Walker sent a rocket from the top of the 18-yard box into the bottom right corner of the net to take the clean sheet away.

The backline and defenders played a really solid game for Liberty. They allowed very few opportunities for the Highlanders in the 5-1 win. Playing in a new system this season, they’re playing about as well as Coach Johnson thought they would.

“It’s a new system so they haven’t had many opportunities to try it… They’ll continue to improve. It’ll be interesting to see how much more growth and improvement they will have over the next couple of weeks,” Johnson said.

Johnson hopes the experience that the team had last year will help boost them to a deeper playoff run this season, which is still a ways away.

“We’re a little more mature, so that definitely helps. We have a lot of senior leadership. It just comes down to are we willing to do the extra work? So far we have been doing that,” Johnson said.

Liberty is on the right track and they play in a tough league that has no breaks, Johnson said: “You have to bring your A game every night. Hazen hustled really well and put a lot of pressure on us. It’s a tough league and we just have to play our best every match.”