FINDLAY – Archbishop Hoban had too much quickness, too much depth and too much Julianna Libertin as the Lady Knights rolled to a 5-0 victory over the Bryan Golden Bears in the Division II soccer regional finals.
Libertin and her teammates took about twenty minutes to warm-up but once they did the goals came easily and often. By halftime the Hoban Knights had a comfortable 4-0 lead and talk of a final four appearance was circulating among the Knights fans and parents.
After twenty minutes of fairly even play, Hoban took advantage of a corner-kick opportunity to tally the game’s first goal. The goal, scored by Alexandria Niehaus at the 23:10 mark, seemed to ignite Knights and the remainder of the half became a constant wave of Hoban offensive assaults. Bryan goalie Stephanie Payne did her best to keep her teammates in the game but the foot-skills and quickness of Hoban’s front-line players was too much.
The Knights’ second goal came off the foot of Hoban’s talented sophomore Julianna Libertin who magically worked her defender until she could get a good shot opportunity and then quickly shot the ball past the Bryan goalie.
Hoban freshmen Margaret Woods used some fancy footwork of her own to post the Knights’ third goal. Woods and her defender were jockeying for when Woods suddenly sidestepped her opponent and released a low screamer into the right corner of the Bryan goal. The goal came at 5:28 of the first half.
Just before halftime the Knights struck again as Julianna Libertin executed a picture perfect crossing pass toward the front of the Bryan goal. Teammate Erin Rosen, rushing toward the goal, picked the Libertin pass out of mid-air and one timed it into the rear of the net. Rosen’s goal gave the Knights a commanding 4-0 lead as the first half ended.
The second half saw much less scoring. Bryan came out far more physical which seemed to neutralize the Hoban offense, however, the Golden Bears were never able to mount any offensive surge. The game was played between the top of the respective goalie boxes with neither team enjoying any quality shot opportunities.
Julianna Libertin did add one a goal for Hoban with just over seven minutes remaining but otherwise the game ended uneventfully.
In defeat, Bryan coach Kim Peppie was both gracious and grateful. While acknowledging that Hoban was the best team that her team had played all year she also described how wonderful the whole experience had been for her and her team.
“This is the farthest our team has ever gone and I have had to pinch myself several times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming,” said Peppie. “Losing is never easy but just being here has been just wonderful.”