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Girls Soccer: Lady Loggers to face Livingston in 1st round

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| October 15, 2009 12:00 AM

Going through the regular season undefeated, the Libby High School girls soccer team enters the postseason as one of the favorites to hang a championship banner. The Lady Loggers know that anything can happen and that they must focus to avoid a letdown along the way.

“It’s definitely a mental game … these games are mentally tough,” LHS head coach Matt Warner said. “They’ve been here before – most of them – and they now know what it takes. They’ve stayed strong throughout the season and I think they’re getting better and better and the mental toughness is a part of that.”

The Lady Loggers would like nothing more than another shot at Billings Central. Last year, Central eliminated Libby in the semifinals, 3-2, in overtime.

“It was a frustrating end and a lot of the girls that were a part of the team remember it,” Warner said. “The nice thing is we don’t have to travel this year. That’s going to make a difference. I foresee these games being good games of soccer.”

Libby opens on Saturday at noon with a game against Livingston. The Loggers opened the regular season with a 1-0 victory over the Rangers in a game played in Troy.

“I expect Libby to play like they did on Saturday (vs. Whitefish) if not better,” Warner said. “They’re going to be tough to beat. I think it’ll be a good game on Saturday. It’s the playoffs so you’ve got to be ready.”

Livingston, also known as Park High School, enters as the No. 3 seed out of the East. If the Loggers win, they would advance to the semifinals against either Hamilton or Belgrade. And if LHS can make it to the finals, Billings Central or Whitefish are among the favorites to make it that far.

“I foresee a state championship with Libby and Billings Central but I know anything can happen in the playoffs,” Warner said. “We beat Livingston and Belgrade. Hamilton, being No. 1 in the South, they seem to be a pretty tough team. You look at all the different matchups during the season but it’s really hard to judge by that.”

The other side of the bracket pits Billings Central against Stevensville and Whitefish against Frenchtown. Most would envision a second-round meeting between Central and Whitefish.

Libby has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, including the championship game if the Loggers advance that far.