Liverpool Right at the end of September, the Liverpool girls soccer team started its climb back to the top of the Section III Class AA ranks, knowing that a lot of time remained for the defending sectional champions to assert itself.
It had taken most of September to shake off the loss of junior midfielder Julia Heberger, expected to be a team cornerstone, who tore her ACL in the early going and would miss the rest of the season.
Now, though, the Warriors’ new configuration is starting to see positive results. To start this crucial stretch, the Warriors hosted archrival Cicero-North Syracuse last Tuesday night, and with a solid all-around effort Liverpool edged past the Northstars 1-0.
C-NS arrived at LHS Stadium with a 4-1 record and a confident attack anchored by sophomore Hanna Haven. Right from the start, though, the Warriors’ defense, led by Morgan Wright, Jennifer Higgins and Chelsea Bowers, zeroed in on Haven, breaking up possible scoring chances in the process.
Liverpool, meanwhile, inched in front in the first half when Kyla Bills scored off a feed from Ore Akinpelu. The Warriors got nothing more past Alyssa Jim, who finished with eight saves, so it had to spend a long time defending a slim one-goal margin.
The Warriors did so, as the defense remained steady despite an all-out effort by C-NS to pull even in the waning minutes. In the net, Rebecca Phillips-Allen turned away all nine shots she faced.
No pressure of that sort was visible two nights later, when West Genesee visited Liverpool. Instead, the Warriors controlled the flow of play more than the second straight 1-0 margin would suggest.
All through the first half, Akinpelu kept breaking open, earning a handful of good scoring chances, but constantly getting turned away. Liverpool could not exploit the presence of WG’s second-string goalie, Angela Ponto (in for Andrea Francisco), who finished with 13 saves.
Steadily, the Warriors kept adding to that pressure in the second half, and it finally paid off in the 53rd minute, a series of chances around WG’s net that culminated when Bills, just as she had done in the C-NS game, put in the go-ahead goal, this time off a feed from Breanna Sharpe.
WG never put up a serious threat in the remaining 26-plus minutes, as Phillips-Allen only had to make five saves.