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Girls Soccer: Libby girls survive first round of playoffs

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| October 22, 2009 12:00 AM

With aspirations of keeping a shot at the state title alive, the Libby High School girls soccer team simply survived on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the playoffs. The Lady Loggers got a scare out of a determined bunch from Livingston but moved on after winning in a shootout, 4-3.

Audra Poppen, Libby’s 5-foot-2 keeper, came up big in the shootout’s final moments. First, she scored with a shot to the right that hit the Livingston goalkeeper’s hands but continued into the net. Then, she went back in goal and blocked Lauren Madden’s attempt with a dive to her left.

And the celebration could begin.

“We practice penalty kicks because this could happen,” LHS coach Matt Warner said. “We go with who is consistent, whose head is on straight.”

The two teams had battled hard through 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. The Loggers appeared to have things well in hand with a 3-1 lead at halftime.

Livingston’s Mary Makris got Ranger fans on their feet with a goal in the 15th minute. Opportunities over the first 30 minutes didn’t net any goals for the Loggers, including several chances by Anna Valentine and Jaime Gilden.

Ranger keeper Carolina Kehoe had a lot to do with Libby’s frustrations early and later on in the second half.

“Libby was not in the game from beginning to end,” Warner said. “We had some good minutes in the first half.”

Those good minutes finally surfaced over the final eight minutes of the half. In the 32nd, Valentine lined up for a free kick and got it to Gilden who scored on a header into the right side of the net. Just 49 seconds later, Valentine scored following a 1-on-1 opportunity down the middle after an exceptional setup pass from Lindsey Kehn.

Then in the final minute of the half, Ashley Shaw scored with an assist going to Valentine. Just like that, the Loggers held a two-goal advantage.

Livingston controlled play over the duration of the second half. Makris scored her second goal over the outstretched hands of Poppen in the 56th minute. Libby held on to the 3-2 lead with great defensive plays from the back line. But the Loggers could not find the net offensively partially due to the effort of Livingston’s Kehoe.

“They came out and didn’t control the middle,” Warner said of his team. “They gave Livingston the middle of the field.”

With 6:37 showing on the clock, Miriam Gelderloos beat a Logger defender to break into a 1-on-1 chance against the keeper. Gelderloos came through to tie the game, 3-3.

In the first of two 10-minute overtimes, Libby nearly regained the lead with 2:09 remaining when Jess Shaw got a pass up to Ashley Shaw while catching the keeper out of position. But the shot missed and Livingston had dodged a bullet. Valentine and Gilden both had chances during the second OT only to see the Rangers hang on.

The game went to a shootout with each team choosing five girls to take shots against the opposing goalkeeper. Libby went first but Valentine missed on a shot that went off the keeper’s hands and hit the top post. Livingston’s Gelderloos missed to the left.

In the second round, Gilden scored with a shot high right and the Rangers’ Victoria Price missed when the ball clanged off the top post. Libby then went up 2-0 on Mechelle Wilson’s grounder into the net. The Rangers’ Makris got her team’s lone shootout goal with a ball to the left.

That’s when Poppen made her shot to put Libby up, 3-1. Livingston needed to answer to keep the shootout alive but Poppen blocked Madden’s attempt and a fifth round was not needed.

The Lady Loggers (12-0 overall) will play host to Hamilton on Saturday at 1 p.m. for a second-round matchup.