It was late in the game last night when Liberty junior Shanna Ziegenfuss decided her work was done on offense.
That's when she got defensive against a relentless Franklin attack that pushed and pushed for a game-tying goal that never came.
With 3:15 left in regulation, Ziegenfuss cleared Heidi Shaneybrook's shot off the goal line to help Liberty hold on to a 4-3 win over No. 9 Franklin in a wet 3A-4A West region semifinal in Eldersburg.
Ziegenfuss, who had a role in all four of the Lions goals, saved her best for last with her play on defense. Shaneybrook's hard shot that came from the left side got past Liberty goalkeeper Angie Primavera and appeared headed for the far post, but Ziegenfuss was there to clear it away.
"It was all reaction," she said. "I told Angie I had the far pole and I just stayed there. That was my job."
Brigit Becker's goal with 25 minutes left in the second half -- a rebound off Ziegenfuss' shot -- gave Liberty (10-4) what appeared to be a comfortable 4-1 lead.
That's when Sara Gustafson got started for Franklin. Her goal midway through cut the lead to 4-2. She had another goal disallowed on an offside call, but came back a couple of minutes later to get the Indians (10-3) within one on a fine individual effort. She stole a Liberty back pass along the left side, dribbled twice before finding the far post with a left-footed shot from just inside the 18-yard mark.
In the final 10 minutes, Liberty packed it in defensively with Franklin unable to find the tying goal. Erin Watson had a shot from 15 yards out that Primavera came up with. The Indians couldn't convert on a corner kick just before Shaneybrook had her chance.
"Our kids showed some character, we played pretty well and came back in the second half," said Franklin coach George Wagner.
Liberty took a 3-1 lead at the half and Ziegenfuss was in the middle of the action.
She got things started when she scored on a direct kick from 20 yards out. The free kick came along the right side and Ziegenfuss found the top left corner to beat Franklin goalkeeper Ann Marie Molinaro.
Five minutes later, Ziegenfuss sent a through ball from midfield that deflected off a Franklin defender to a waiting Trish Young, who finished from 15 yards out.
Franklin answered 30 seconds later when Amy Miller lofted a shot from 20 yards out that Liberty keeper Primavera couldn't keep out of the goal.
The Lions got that goal back with 11 minutes left when Ziegenfuss dribbled through three Franklin defenders before finding a wide-open Michelle Clawson, who finished from 15 yards out.