Ward’s goal was the difference in the Lions’ 1-0 victory, one of the biggest in Liberty’s program history — Liberty captured its first county championship since 1982.
Ward said it was a fitting accomplishment for what she had been working toward the entire season.
“It went over the girl’s stick and my stick was there,” said Ward, bursting with excitement. “I’ve been practicing the whole year not swinging my stick … and I just let it hit it. That was the best feeling in the world.”
A physical matchup drew 82 total team fouls and both sides saw their fair share of shots on cage. Liberty finished with 12 penalty corners, but Century managed just one.
The Lions (12-2, 6-0 in the county) thought they had scored midway through the first half, but the long shot was disallowed after a discussion between the officials.
Goalies Grace Fenner and Clare Hollinger kept their team’s in the game, making crucial kick saves.
Fenner finished with four saves for the Lions.
When intensity ramped up for one team, the other seemingly matched. Even the noise from a large crowd was drowned out by the screams and support from the opposing sidelines.
Those cheers grew even louder from the Liberty side when the final horn blew and Strohmer couldn’t but help express her excitement.
“It’s so tough to play everyone in our county,” she said. “To come out undefeated in the county and win it outright with this group of girls, I can’t even express how good I feel. They’ve worked so hard for this.”