It was Liberty Bell High School’s only regular season opportunity to exact revenge for an earlier season loss and that they did in big fashion, defeating the Pateros Nannies 4-1 on the pitch at Mountain Lion stadium last Thursday (Oct. 20).
Liberty Bell lost 2-0 at Pateros back on Sept. 18. On Senior Night, the Mountain Lions sent this year’s class out with a goal-scoring frenzy, led by freshman Marit Nelson’s second hat trick of the season, getting three shots into the Pateros net.
Senior Lillian Overbeck claimed the other goal on a beautiful assist, from eighth-grader Kara McMillan early in the second half. McMillan had three assists on the day.
“It felt great,” said Nelson after the match. “I just wanted to make sure the seniors went out with a win.”
Coach Katie Overbeck attributed Thursday’s victory to the overall growth of the team since losing to Pateros. “The girls have learned a bunch in that time and have come together as a team,” she said.
Nelson, who as a freshman has become a leader on the field, said that “We were missing a couple of difference-makers in that first match … We’ve really worked hard, and there is a whole new energy now, especially with Senior Night.”
Playoff breakdown• Football: Liberty Bell’s independent status in District 6 this year has made the first round fairly easy. The Mountain Lions are designated for the No. 3 spot behind regular season CW1B League champion Entiat and 2nd-place Waterville-Mansfield. They will travel to Waterville to take on the Shockers on Thursday (Oct. 27), kickoff at 7 p.m. for the right to advance to the District 6/7 crossover the following Friday, Nov. 4, site to be determined.
• Volleyball: The Mountain Lions have secured a spot in the District 6 tournament. Their Senior Night match this Tuesday (Oct. 25) with Tonasket determines seeding as either the No. 5 (with a win) or No. 6 seed. Either way, they will travel for the first round to either Brewster or Okanogan on Tuesday, Nov. 1. There are too many variables to be able to predict that first-round match seeding at this date.
• Soccer: Girls’ soccer in North Central Washington is a total mess and predicting which team goes where is a perilous venture. Okanogan (7-0), Brewster (6-1) and Tonasket (6-1) could conceivably end up in a three-way tie for first place. The Bulldogs and Bears faced off at Brewster Tuesday afternoon for the regular season league title. Tonasket is a solid favorite to win at Bridgeport, also on Tuesday.
The Fillies, with a loss to Tonasket, combined with a Mountain Lion win at Manson and a Pateros win at home versus Lake Roosevelt, would knot those three teams at 4-4 for the No. 4, 5 and 6 seeds in the six-team tourney. We’re just going to have to wait to see how the tie breakers determine those seedings. Those first-round matches in the soccer tournament are scheduled for this Thursday.
Check www.cwbathletics.com for updated information.
That new energy has been evident in the recent wins over Oroville, Lake Roosevelt and Pateros.
That was displayed in the style of play on Thursday. The Mountain Lions were much more assertive on offense, controlling the ball and the match in the first half. Solid midfield defense allowed the Nannies very few opportunities to push the ball into the Liberty Bell end, and when they did, they got even fewer accurate shots off toward goalkeeper Ruby McCarthy.
Only one shot got by McCarthy, a lob that being a foot taller was the only thing that could have helped the senior netminder stop the ball.
While the goals and offense were a welcome sight for Overbeck, she was quick to point out that the play of the night was made on defense. Pateros worked the ball up the field deep into the Mountain Lion end. In a one-on-one effort, freshman goalkeeper Lilly Belcher came out to shut down the angle on an approaching Nannie ball handler. Pateros got off a shot that got by Belcher toward the goal when from the right side, Adee Smith came flying across the goal mouth, stretching out her right leg to redirect the ball away.
“That was an amazing play,” said the coach.
McCarthy, Smith and Overbeck joined with fellow seniors Addie Stratman, Claudia Gomez-Arroyo and Michaela Hatlova in a post-game ceremony of recognition for the outgoing class.
Earlier in the week, Liberty Bell traveled to Brewster for an afternoon match, the Bears coming away with a 3-0 victory.
Overbeck was pleased with her young team’s progress, though, seeing some good signs in the loss. “Liberty Bell played good soccer and responded to Brewster’s kick-and-run game with passing, moving and creating opportunities on goal,” Overbeck said. “We held possession in their end of the field for the first 15 minutes of the game.”
The Mountain Lions just weren’t able to penetrate the goal as the Bears packed players in the goal box and kept the ball away from the net.
“We left too many players in the defensive part of the field and not enough to hold possession in our scoring end,” Overbeck said.
The Mountain Lions closed out the regular season with a trip to Manson on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 25), after the News went to press. It was a chance for the girls to pick up one more win and close the regular season on a winning note, earning three victories in their last four games, and go 4-3 in the second half of the season after an 0-5 start.
District brackets are going down to the last day of the season. Liberty Bell and Pateros were locked in a tie at 3-4 for the No. 5 seed. Bridgeport was at 4-3 is the No. 4 seed. A Mountain Lion win at Manson, Pateros win at Lake Roosevelt and a Bridgeport loss at Tonasket on Tuesday result in a three-way tie for the No. 4 seed and home field in the first round.
Albright, Halpin win Oroville Invite
The Mountain Lions girls won a battle of two teams at the 2022 Oroville Invitational Cross Country Meet held last Friday (Oct. 21), holding off the host Hornets 21-36. The Liberty Bell boys placed third (47 points), behind Brewster (27 points), Chelan (46) and well ahead of Manson (107).
Leki Albright (20:22) once again won the girls’ race, outdistancing Brewster’s Kaydence Carrington by 14 seconds (20:36) in a familiar scenario this year. Sandra Hernandez continued to improve on the 3-mile course, placing 3rd with a respectable 21:30. Liberty Bell’s three eighth-graders, Ingrid Venable, Juniper Dickson and Yasmin Moore, placed 7th, 9th and 11th, respectively, to complete the scoring team.
Liberty Bell’s Will Halpin (16:52) won the boys’ race by 13 seconds over Brewster rivals Juan David Martinez and Osvaldo Calderon (17:58). Mountain Lion Aksel Thomson (18:04) crossed the line in 4th place as the only other top 10 placing for Liberty Bell. Tristan Schmekel, Kyler Mitchell and Tristan Hover packed in 13th through 15th places for the Mountain Lions’ top five scoring runners.
Liberty Bell’s No. 1 and No. 4 runners so far this season, Dexter Delaney and Jackson Schmekel, both sat out the Oroville race, resting and healing up some nagging soreness for this Saturday’s (Oct. 29) district championships at Liberty Bell. The Mountain Lions host the Central Washington B League and state qualifier. The varsity boys run at 12:30 p.m., the girls’ varsity/JV follows at 1 p.m. and the boys’ JV race will start at 1:30 p.m.
This meet determines the entrants, both team and individual, for the WIAA state championships at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco on Nov. 5, from District 6 for the boys and Districts 5 and 6 for the girls. District 5 has elected to run the boys’ meet separate from District 6 for the second straight year. Two teams and 10 individuals will qualify for state in both boys’ and girls’ varsity races at this year.
The Mountain Lion boys have sent a full team to every state championship since 2010 and have two state titles, winning the 1A/B championship in 1998, and the 1B/2B title last year. The Liberty Bell Girls also have an impressive streak that began in 2015 and includes three state titles (2016, ’17 and ’18) and close calls as runner-up in 2019 and last year.
The boys’ streak is at risk this year with notable competitive increases in the Brewster and Okanogan boys programs. Brewster’s Juan David Martinez has been very competitive with the Liberty Bell lead duo of Halpin and Delaney, and junior Osvaldo Calderon is not far behind. Assuming a healthy Liberty Bell team, though, the Mountain Lions are the favorite to repeat as district champions. Delaney and Halpin are a tough 1-2 punch, Aksel Thomson is a very strong No. 3 with team Schmekel, Kyler Mitchell and Tristan Hover continue to move up as a pack. If any of the Mountain Lions’ top five runners are missing, Brewster could surprise the defending state champs.
On the girls’ side, Liberty Bell should be considered the front runner for the top spot. Warden is the only full-team entrant from District 5; Tonasket and Oroville will battle for the second of the only two spots to the eight-team state championship. Albright is the defending 2021 District 5/6 champion, and is the current favorite to repeat.
Bulldogs best Mountain Lions, 3-0
Liberty Bell closed out the Murderers’ Row portion of its schedule with a three-set loss to the Okanogan Bulldogs Tuesday (Oct. 18) evening in the Lions’ Den, 6-25, 14-25 and 6-25.
Three of their four games over 12 days between Oct. 6 and 18 involved the top three teams in the North Central Washington 2B in Brewster, Manson and Okanogan. Wedged in that run was a three-set win at Oroville. It was the second time this season the Mountain Lions have had to run that grueling gauntlet of three highly touted teams, capable of making a run at the state tournament.
The match started out on a promising note, as sophomore defender Rio Lott dug out a diving serve from the Bulldogs’ Chloe Peterson and outside hitter Violet Chrastina putting away a kill shot from the left side for a 1-0 lead. Okanogan responded with Selah Downey on the serve, running the early lead out to 6-1. They didn’t look back the rest of the set, cruising to a 25-6 win.
The second set revealed a whole different tone and intensity, Liberty Bell playing Okanogan straight up, trading points and serves, a Katelyn Evans’ front line block put the Mountain Lions ahead at 12-11. The Bulldogs then broke a 13-13 tie and pulled away, outscoring the home team 12-1 down the stretch to take set 2.
Okanogan controlled the third set from the start, rolling to another 25-6 win and the match victory.
Coach Beth Blank was understandably perplexed when asked about the run early on in the second set when compared to the rest of the match. “We got on that roll when we had the first serve of the set. Sometimes it just happens that way, hard to explain. We’re that close,” Blank said, holding two fingers close together.
Mostly, it seemed as if the old saw of age and experience over youthful exuberance was the difference. Okanogan is loaded with juniors and seniors who have played together for a number of years, both in school and the summer Confluence Club.
Liberty Bell defeated the Fillies in a 3-0 sweep at Bridgeport on Oct. 19. No further details were made available.
The Mountain Lions faced Tonasket in a Senior Night home match, and the final match of the 2022 regular season, on Tuesday (Oct. 25) after the News went to press.
Football preps for playoffs
Liberty Bell took the week off from 1B 8-man football this past week, resting up and practicing for their first round playoff in the District 6/7 crossover tournament. They will be traveling to Waterville to take on the Shockers Thursday night (Oct. 27) for the right to move on to a second-round match up with a team from the NE 1B or Panorama League.
Entiat defeated Waterville-Mansfield last Friday in a thriller, 38-36, to set up the first-round match up with Liberty Bell. Entiat will play Bridgeport in the other Play-In game leading to the D6/7 crossover.
After this weekend’s games, a District 6 & 7 seeding committee will determine who plays whom in that crossover tourney, Nov. 4. The WIAA RPI assemblage will then determine the 12-team state tournament field, with opening-round games set for Veteran’s Day weekend.
As of Saturday (Oct. 22), the Mountain Lions are ranked 9th in the State 1B RPI poll from the WIAA. Other eastern Washington teams in the top 10 of the RPI include Odessa at No. 1, Desales at No. 3, Wellpinit at No. 5, Liberty Christian at No. 6 and Almira-Coulee-Hartline at No. 10. DeSales and Liberty Christian are in District 5 and do not play into the D6/7 conversation.
While wins by Liberty Bell this season are a good thing, their journeys to Odessa and Kendrick, Idaho, also help boost their RPI for consideration in the selection of the WIAA committee into the championship tournament. Winning the next two games should cement that invite for Liberty Bell as it is thought that two teams from the combined district will both get berths this year.
The team is fairly healthy heading into the post-season with only a couple of exceptions. Interior lineman Damien Spears is out for the season with a knee injury sustained at Kendrick. Two-way player Lucien Paz will return to action this week after passing all concussion protocols. Connor Arndt will still be sidelined this week, serving out the second of a two-game suspension for a personal foul at Kendrick, but will be available and ready for the second round game.