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Girls Soccer: Lady Loggers off to 2-0 start

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| September 8, 2009 12:00 AM

The Libby High School girls may have started the season a bit later because of a game cancellation but the Lady Loggers showed no negative effects in a pair of victories over quality opponents last week.

The talent-heavy Loggers opened on their own field Friday with a 5-1 victory over rival Belgrade. And then on Saturday in Troy, Libby posted a hard-fought 1-0 win over Livingston.

Belgrade entered Friday’s meeting with a 2-0 record and a defense that had not been scored upon.

“It was great to beat them … two years ago, Belgrade knocked us out of the semifinals,” Libby coach Matt Warner said. “We capitalized on corner kicks and on our scoring opportunities. We picked it up and played a great game.”

The Loggers got on the scoreboard first but with the help of their opponent. In the 11th minute, Anna Valentine took a direct kick and it went into the goal off a header from a Belgrade player. The Panthers got it back in the 24th minute on a goal by Kayla Novotny and the battle was on.

With five minutes left in the first half, Libby took the lead on a goal by Jaime Gilden. Valentine had the first of four assists on the play.

The Lady Loggers dominated the second half with goals by Valentine and Gilden. Valentine scored unassisted for the 3-1 lead. Then Gilden scored twice off corner kicks from Valentine.

Libby’s defense played well to keep the Belgrade attack under control, including six saves by goalkeeper Audra Poppen.

On Saturday, Libby beat Livingston 1-0 for the second straight year on a Valentine goal. The shot occurred off a feed from Chelsea Ahart 14 minutes into the game.

“The girls started slow but picked it up later in the first half,” Warner said. “In the last five minutes, it looked like they were passing and playing well.”

Despite that good play, Libby had trouble finishing. Gilden had a few good looks and Ashley Shaw just missed on another opportunity. Late in the half, the Loggers nearly hit the ball into its own net off a corner kick.

Livingston threatened to tie the game on several occasions in the second half. Rachel Silverstrone nearly scored for the Rangers on a shot that banged off the crossbar. On two other occasions, Libby’s Lindsey Kehn kicked the ball out of danger at the last moment and Poppen had a key save on a goal chance off the foot of Mary Makris.

“Audra played well in goal,” Warner said. “She was a quick fix (at keeper) … we had two other girls who hurt their wrists.”

Kehn and Kayla Forster each made several key defensive plays for the Loggers.

Libby (2-0) heads to Columbia Falls on Saturday.