By Mike Maltais
The post-season hopes for the record-setting Liberty Bell High School varsity boys’ soccer team came to a dramatic end on the home pitch on May 6, as the visiting Bridgeport Mustangs matched the Mountain Lions two-to-one on goals for a 6-3 win and the right to advance in the league playoffs.
Bridgeport kept the offensive pressure on the Mountain Lions and held a comfortable 4-1 lead for most of the game before Marty Larsen scored on a header off an inbound kick late in the second period to give Liberty Bell its second point.
Bridgeport immediately seized the initiative on the chance that Liberty Bell’s defenders might let their guards down just long enough to allow a quick counterstrike. The strategy worked perfectly as Bridgeport’s Christian Garcia took possession of the ball deep in Mountain Lions territory and drove a cross-field kick past goalkeeper Mike Hafsos to put Bridgeport back up by three.
Minutes later, Jorge Lara launched a Beckham-like bender from near midfield that curved past the outstretched arms of Bridgeport’s goalie and into the high left corner of the net. The Mountain Lions were once again inside Bridgeport’s comfort zone, but only briefly.
In a rapid repeat of his previous score, Garcia again slipped his defenders and closed quickly on Hafsos to score the final point of the game.
The Mountain Lions finished their league season 3-3 with an overall 11-5 win-loss record.
In a look ahead to next season, Liberty Bell will not lose a single player to graduation. If they all return to the pitch next year, the Mountain Lions can count on five experienced seniors to lead a corps of talented underclassmen.