The skies opened midway through yesterday's Lions Classic championship boys soccer game between host Liberty and No. 12 Glenelg and turned an already sloppy field into a virtual quagmire. By the time sunshine returned midway through the second half, players were constantly slipping and sliding.
That's the main reason Glenelg coach Peter Klisas and Liberty coach Ed DeVincent opted to skip overtime when regulation ended at 2-2. Klisas and DeVincent discussed it with officials and went straight to penalty kicks. Liberty then won that round easily and came away with a big early-season victory and the tournament championship.
"We just didn't want to play any more in the mud," Klisas said, fearing possible injuries.
DeVincent agreed and said both coaches were concerned about the field and the fact it was the day's second game for each team. Skipping overtime and heading right to penalty kicks seemed a logical compromise.
The Lions scored a 4-1 win in penalty kicks, making all of their shots against Glenelg goalie Kyle Goldman. Justin Ahmanson, Taylor Van Brackle and James Napp all beat Goldman with shots to the left before Sean Locklear sealed the victory with a shot inside the right post.
Liberty goalie Brandon Chopper (four saves) made one save, and Glenelg banged one shot off the post. Mickey Hill scored in the third round, but Liberty already had a 3-1 lead and Locklear ended it in the fourth round.
Glenelg (3-1) took a 1-0 lead when David Olorunfemi headed a Joey Osborne throw-in past Chopper just 3:52 into the game.
Locklear started the comeback for Liberty (2-1). He tied the game with 28:36 left by lining a low 15-yard shot inside the left post after making a quick cut into the middle - the first goal Glenelg allowed this season.
The Lions took a 2-1 lead just 59 seconds later when Michael McCormick chipped in a high 15-yard shot that Goldman (nine saves) appeared to misjudge. The goalie took a step or two off his line, and McCormick calmly one-timed a shot that sailed right over his head.
Hill tied it on a header with 9:02 left in the first half, but Chopper helped keep the game tied at halftime. He made a diving save on a corner kick and a spectacular save with his foot on a shot from in close.