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Carroll County Times
Carroll County High School Sports

Liberty boys soccer extends winning streak to four with 4-0 win over Winters Mill

Spreading the ball around on offense is something Liberty has done well this season.

Tuesday night was no exception as four players put the ball in the back of the net in Liberty’s 4-0 shutout of visiting Winters Mill.

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The victory extends the Liberty’s winning streak to four games as the Lions move 6-1 overall.

Liberty’s Jake Heidtman, right, heads the ball past Winters Mill’s Grayson Lucas during Tuesday's game.

“First off, credit to the players,” Liberty coach David Abarbanel said. “We have a lot of talented guys, so we can attack in many different ways. Sometimes teams rely on one or two guys, but that’s clearly not the case with these guys. Credit to them — it’s part of our system, too, how we set up tactically — but it’s first and foremost due to these players.

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“I would say I have six, seven or eight go-to guys, and it’s just who’s maybe going to be hot that night because they can hurt you in a lot of different ways. I think that just speaks to how we’ve gotten off to the start that we have this year.”

Liberty has outscored its opponents 38-5 through the first seven games this season, including four shutouts.

Seniors Derek Goff and Austin Wadlington, junior Grant Bernstein and sophomore Austen Veach netted the goals for the Lions on Tuesday, with sophomore Connor Clapper registering two assists and senior Sam Allen recording one. The Lions outshot the Falcons, 18-5, in the win.

After a frustrating first 10 minutes offensively, Goff broke open the scoring for the Lions.

Goff leaped into the air and headed the ball past the goalkeeper on a corner kick attempt, with the assist coming off the foot of Clapper, opening the scoring in the 12th minute.

“Credit to Winters Mill, they came out ready to play,” Abarbanel said. “I thought they were honestly the better team the first 10 minutes or so, but obviously Derek scoring changed everything. He’s been pretty unbelievable this year. We’ve played him at outside back, center mid, center back, so he’s kind of been a jack of all trades for us and he was phenomenal tonight as well.”

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As soon as Goff saw the ball coming his way, he knew it was headed for the back of the net. He couldn’t have asked for a better setup from his teammate, either.

“It was a beautifully placed ball,” Goff said, “right to where I could get it and not the defender. I was going front post there and the ball came right to me. I trust my teammates and I trust myself, and it just happened to go in.”

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Winters Mill goalie Hayden Shuman beats Liberty midfielder Sam Allen to the ball during Tuesday's game.

Less than a minute later, the Lions narrowly missed out on another goal, but missed wide left. It didn’t take long for the offense to generate another scoring opportunity, though, as Wadlington took the ball up the left side of the field and hit the top right corner of the net to extend the lead to 2-0 in the 17th minute.

Just before stoppage time, Bernstein took a loose ball in front of the net and turned it into a 3-0 halftime lead.

Less than seven minutes into the second half, Veach capped the night’s scoring with a goal on yet another corner kick attempt. With his shot initially blocked, Veach deflected the ricochet into the back of the net on a second chance to extend the lead to 4-0.

The back line and senior goalkeeper Garrett Rodoff kept the Falcons off the board for the remainder of the game to notch the team’s fourth shutout of the season. Rodoff earned it with six saves.

“This was actually our first game back where we had everyone fully fit,” Abarbanel said of the defense. “One of our starting defenders has been out the entire year, until tonight, so we’re getting there. We’ve still got a long ways to go, but we’re definitely happy with where we are right now.”


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