By Rick Lewis
The Mountain Lions defeated the Oroville Hornets in a three match set, 25-22, 25-22, and 25-11 on Tuesday (Sept. 14) on the road in the north central Washington border town and remained undefeated, running their record to 2-0 on the young season. Senior Jadyn Mitchell led the way for Liberty Bell with 11 kills, five kill blocks and six service aces. Caitlyn Cooley added six kills, Shae Taylor five kills and three service aces, and Joslyn Rispone contributed five assists to the effort.
On Thursday (Sept. 16), the Mountain Lions fell prey to perennial power Brewster, falling for the first time this season in a three-set league match, 25-11, 25-15, and 25-13. The Thursday evening match in Champions Gym at Brewster was adjusted to a 5 p.m. start at the request of Liberty Bell, to accommodate an early Friday morning trip to the Yakima SunDome Tournament, where their first scheduled match was set for 8 a.m. Pretty much as it has been for the past two seasons, junior Abby Boesel led the way for the Bears with 12 kills on 23 attempts, 11 services aces, 12 digs and eight assists.
It was up early Friday morning for a red-eye trip to Yakima where the Mountain Lions tipped off the SunDome Volleyball Festival at 8 a.m., playing in a four-team pool with Riverview, West Valley (Yakima) JV and the eventual tourney runner up, Colfax. Liberty Bell split their two-game sets with Riverview (25-21 and 24-26) and West Valley JV (17-25 and 25-23). Colfax, a historical State contender at the 2B and 1A level swept both sets 25-9 and 25-10. The Mountain Lions entered tournament play in the afternoon in the No. 3 seeded level bracket, dropping a best-of-three-set match to Granger, 25-22, 13-25 and 9-15 in the quarterfinals. That loss set them up for a consolation match with Wilbur-Creston, with the Mountain Lions winning 25-16, 21-25, 15-7.
After an exhausting 24-hour period for the girls, they didn’t get much of a breather as they returned to league play, entertaining the Manson Trojans on Tuesday evening (Sept. 21) post-press time, and a Thursday (Sept. 23) home match versus the Lake Roosevelt Raiders. Another single day, multi-match tournament at Quincy is on the docket for this Saturday (Sept. 25), followed by a road match at always tough Okanogan on Tuesday, (Sept. 28).
Girls soccer shuts out Fillies 5-0, have three-game winning streak
Elke Wathen hit for two goals and a couple of assists, Sophia Newton, Maisy Shaw and Lillian Overbeck each added single tallies and the Mountain Lions shut out the Bridgeport Fillies for their third consecutive victory to open the new season last Tuesday (Sept. 14) 5-0.
Shaw, who went through only a light practice on Monday after turning an ankle in the Mountain Lions’ match with Omak two days earlier, wasted no time getting LBH on the board, scoring off of a Wathen corner kick three minutes into the contest. Wathen dropped the ball into a crowd of players gathered in front of the Bridgeport goal, it took a small hop and Shaw shot the ball out of the crowd and by the Fillies’ goalkeeper for the early lead.
Lillian Overbeck took advantage of two great setup passes from Wathen to Jess Dinham, and then on to Overbeck about 15 yards out in front, and dropped an arching lob shot over the head of the goalkeeper and into the net at the 14-minute mark. Overbeck assisted on Wathen’s first goal at 18:10 and the Mountain Lions were on their way to a 3-0 halftime lead.
Wathen picked up her second score just 2:30 into the second half from about 25 yards out on the right wing, nailing a near perfect shot just out of reach of the Filly goalie and Sophia Newton closed out the scoring with 27:15 left in the match on a shot from the front of the goal for her second goal of the young season.
“Epic passing”, a term coined and defined by this Mountain Lion team, is what led to the decisive win by LBH. “Epic passing means an intentional and controlled passing game,” said coach Katie Overbeck. “Knowing where your teammates are and getting the ball to them in a controlled manner.”
Overbeck pointed to the first five minutes of the second half as the period where her charges best played that controlled style of game.
The Mountain Lions extended their early season win streak to three matches, winning by a combined score of 17-2 in that stretch.
Thursday (Sept. 16) at Chelan, Liberty Bell dropped their first loss of the 2021 season, a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Chelan Goats on Thursday. No other information has been made available as of press time.
Cross country stands out at Wenatchee Invitational
An impressive pack run by Liberty Bell’s top three girls and freshman Dexter Delaney again running strong and turning heads highlighted the Mountain Lions’ annual appearance in the Wenatchee Invitational at Walla Walla Point Park in the Apple capitol. The Liberty Bell boys placed fourth in the team standings, the girls placed fifth, and dominated the small school classes as well as most of the larger schools in attendance. The meet, hosted by the Wenatchee Panthers, attracts teams from all over Washington and beyond, and all classes of high school size.
Delaney’s time of 16:20 puts him atop the early statewide board at 5 kilometers, the most common distance for high school cross country, including November’s State Championships in Pasco. His time was good for sixth place individually in Wenatchee, and easily the fastest time among the small school field. Indeed, his closest competition from a fellow B competitor was sophomore teammate Will Halpin, only 13 seconds back in 14th spot. Graham Sheley was the third Mountain Lion across the line in 25th spot at 17:20.10, Aksel Thomson (37) and Carter Sheley (38) followed in 17:37 and :39, respectively to complete the five person scoring team. Isaiah Stoothof placed 49th and Jackson Schmekel in 103rd completed the seven-person varsity squad in the 207 runner field.
In the girls varsity race, liberty bell demonstrated the concept of pack running as Senior Jori Grialou and sophomores Leki Albright and Dashe McCabe crossed the finish line consecutively in 10th through 12th positions, times of 20:18, 20:19 and 20:20, respectively. The pack led the Mountain Lions to a fifth place team finish, again easily the top team of the small schools in Wenatchee on Saturday. Senior Payten Kaufman was the fourth Lion across the line in 59th place, classmate Ayeanna Ruprecht in 79th and Sandra Hernandez crossing the tape 94th in the 154 runner race.
Head Coach Erik Brooks was clearly excited and pleased with how the Mountain Lions performed in Wenatchee. “Both teams ran incredibly well and 17 of 21 runners had PR [personal record] times on a Wenatchee course that is not often very fast,” speaking of the plush and well-irrigated lawns of Walla Walla Point Park. “This is beyond solid,” he continued. “We soundly beat many a 3A and 4A school in the process. A great place to build from as we put this one aside and move on to the next few weeks of work.”
In the Boys JV race, Kyler Mitchell led the way for the Mountain Lions at 20:51, good for 36th position.
In the junior high races, Methow Valley athletes ran and showed well. Anja Merkens and Landon Schmekel each brought home first place medals in the sixth grade division. Oliver Peplow-Shaw made the top ten with an eighth place finish in the boys seventh-grade while Ingrid Venable (third), Taylor Hover (fourth), Nora Bolinger (sixth) and Juniper Dickson (eighth) all cracked the top ten in the girls seventh-grade race. Bodie Thomson was the only eighth grader to run for the boys, making the most of it placing fourth overall only 10 seconds back from the tape breaker. Liberty Bell’s lone eighth grade girl, Greta Schumacher, placed 22nd.
Junior High coach Liam Daily’s enthusiasm easily matched that of Brooks.’ “To me, what’s so exciting about this season is that, with our team being as large as it is, almost every single athlete has a teammate to run with during races,” said the 2014 Mountain Lion alum. “We’ve seen some fantastic teamwork from athletes who are completely new to the sport. As everyone learns more about running and themselves, we’re starting to see people settle into their races and find success.”
Both Liberty Bell programs traveled to Okanogan for a late-Tuesday (Sept. 21) afternoon meet. The next scheduled meets for the Mountain Lion programs are Saturday, (Oct. 2) at the Nike Twilight in Marysville for the high school, where the LBH girls are the defending champions of the small school division. The junior high crew heads for Leavenworth’s OctoberFest and the Cascade Kodiak Invitational at the ski hill.
Pirates plunder Mountain Lions on the road
It was a cloudy, threatening night in the Blue Mountains Friday as Liberty Bell went in search of a solid early season non-conference opponent. Their journey landed them on the field of the highly regarded Pomeroy Pirates for a 6 p.m. kickoff, and the Pirates sent the Mountain Lions home with their first loss of the young season, 58-12.
It didn’t start out too bad, though. Pomeroy took the opening kickoff and drove most of the length of the field but the Mountain Lions intercepted a third-down Pirate pass at the 9 yard line, stopping their first incursion toward the goal line. But then Pomeroy’s potent offense took over and the defense held serve, mostly. The Mountain Lions did put one scoring drive together right at the end of the first half, taking a Pirate kickoff at their own 35 with 8 minutes remaining in the second quarter. It took a fourth-down conversion near midfield, 30 yards in Pirate penalties on one play for roughing the passer, and an additional 15-yarder for a personal foul away from the play. The Mountain Lions advanced the ball to the 1 yard line where Riley Lidey carried it across for the closing score of the first half, Pomeroy up 40-6.
The second half was more of the same, starting when the Pirates, up 40-6, recovered their on-side kick, and marched the ball down field, scoring with only 3 minutes gone on the running clock, making the score 48-6. Pomeroy tackled a Liberty Bell ball carrier in the end zone for a safety, added another touchdown and two-point conversion, and the Mountain Lions added one more tally, a 51 yard pass from Lidey to Merek Johnson with about four minutes to go, and the final of 58-12 had been reached.
Pomeroy moves their record to 3-0, having beat Waterville 84-0 the week prior, Liberty Bell drops to 1-1 overall, and haven’t played a league game yet. That will change when the Mountain Lions travel to Waterville to take on the Shockers Friday night, kickoff at 7 p.m.