The Liberty Ranch girls soccer team is headed to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship game for the third year in a row.
The top-seeded Hawks defeated No. 5 El Dorado 2-0 in Tuesday’s semifinal match at Hawk Stadium, with both goals coming from McKenna Brown.
“We played fantastic soccer in the second half,” said Liberty Ranch coach Robert Huarte. “It was scoreless in the first half, and we came out a little flat. El Dorado is a solid team. We’ve been used to beating them pretty good for the past five or six years, but they gave us two really good games this year.”
Liberty Ranch, which won the Sierra Valley Conference at 10-0, and is currently 18-4, defeated El Dorado 2-1 and 3-2 in the regular season. The Cougars finished second in the SVC at 7-3.
On Tuesday, Devyn Kelley got the Hawks started in the 74th minute with a steal while playing high on the back line. She passed over the top to Brown, who beat El Dorado’s goalkeeper one on one for the goal.
Minutes later, Sydney Klink fed Brown for her second goal, forcing a turnover deep in El Dorado territory. She got the ball inside to Brown, who again beat the keeper one on one.
Goalkeeper Carson Jackson, meanwhile, helped keep El Dorado scoreless with several big saves.
“Our defense has been pretty solid, but she really came through huge tonight,” Huarte said. “There was a ball that was bending to the right side top 90, and she made a dive and kept it in her hands all the way to the ground.”
The Hawks will play El Camino for the Division IV title on at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Cosumnes Oaks High in Elk Grove. The other side of the bracket featured the sixth seed (El Camino) blowing out the 10th seed (Livingston) 9-0 in the semifinal.
“El Camino comes from a really tough league,” Huarte said. “So I knew they were going to be solid, even being fourth in their league.”