Liberty boys' season ends at Summit, 4-0
Liberty head coach Garrett Blizzard told me a couple of weeks ago following a road win over No. 5-ranked Forest Grove, that he believed his boys team was the best team in the state. That may be true, but unfortunately for the coach and the Falcons team that won this year's Pacific Conference title, they won't be able to prove it on the field after losing in the second round of the OSAA state playoffs 4-0 to Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Summit High School in Bend.
The Storm put the Falcons squarely behind the eight ball when Summit senior midfielder Kamdon Simmons scored on a rebound off of a missed shot just five minutes into the contest, giving the home Storm a 1-0 lead. It stayed that way until the half, then in the second Summit's Kyle Capdevila capitalized on another rebounded miss, netting the Storm's second goal and giving his team a 2-0 lead.
"They got that early goal from a ball inside the 18 that was bouncing around all over and eventually found the back of our net," Blizzard said. "Then down 2-0, it really intensified the pressure we were already feeling to score."
Nonetheless, the coach remained confident in his team's chances of overcoming the two-goal deficit, but after a mental miscue led to a third goal — also by Simmons — by way of a penalty kick, the game was out of hand and the Falcons were left to deal with what was ultimately a second straight playoff loss at the hands of the Storm.
"That third goal visibly disheartened the whole team," Blizzard said. "And it was downhill from there."
Summit added a fourth goal when sophomore defender Rory McKee scored on a free kick from 25 yards with five minutes remaining, but that was just salt in an already painful Falcons wound.
"Myself and the boys are heartbroken over the loss," the Liberty coach said. "The score line doesn't make it seem like a close game, but it was until the last 20 minutes of the game."
The coach added that his team played with their opponent for the vast majority of the contest, and in fact controlled possession of what was a fairly evenly played game for 60 minutes. But in the end his team simply didn't "have it" on this day, and the final score was proof of that.
"I was certain the second half was ours for the taking," said Blizzard. "We started to gain control of the game, but struggled to be an offensive threat. Even at 2-0 I felt we could make the comeback happen, but ultimately my team didn't show up to play; I could see it in our warm-ups."
Despite the loss, Blizzard appreciated his team's effort and performance on this night and throughout the season, and said as much afterwards.
"I genuinely believe that this Liberty squad is unstoppable when they are clicking as a team," the coach said. "We had an excellent showing and we rose above a lot of challenges outside our control, but unfortunately some of those obstacles redirected our path to a significantly harder road.
"Overall I want my message about this team to be that I love these boys as my own family. I'm going to miss the seniors deeply as many of them I've grown alongside for all four years.
"This team plays the beautiful game as it should be played and it was a joy for me to witness. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives, and I am so appreciative of the families that support the team."
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