It didn’t take long for Sidney Liebherr to leave her mark.
Liebherr scored two goals in the opening minutes, leading Claremore to a 7-0 rout of East Central at Lantow Field on Tuesday night. The junior scored once more in the second half to cap off the hat trick.
“She was able to get it going on the left side for us and had a great game,” Lady Zebras coach Ryan Jahn said.
Claremore, now 3-3 overall and 1-0 in District 5A-4, extended its win streak to two games with the victory, having defeated Verdigris, 3-2, in extra time before spring break two weeks ago.
The Lady Zebras’ seven goals was the program’s most since its season-opening 7-0 thumping of Memorial on March 1.
“We had a nice week break, and it’s finally starting to come together,” Jahn said. “We did a pretty good job of playing as a team and working off each other.”
Of course, Liebherr wasn’t the only one finding the back of the net.
Reagan Smith tallied two goals of her own, and Lilly Sweet added another. The Lady Cardinals (1-7, 0-1) surrendered an own goal, bringing Claremore’s total to seven.
Jahn said Sweet recently took over the midfield starting position, and she’s making the most of her opportunity.
“She had a goal from pretty far out, which was a really nice shot,” Jahn said. “She’s playing outstanding for us. She’s working her butt off and doing a lot of good things for us.”
The Lady Zebras return to the pitch next Tuesday and Friday for a pair of big district matchups.
“I’m excited to see what’s gonna happen next week when we play Tahlequah and Booker T,” Jahn said. “Booker T is the reigning state champ, so it’ll give us a gauge as to what to look forward to in the playoffs.”
Zebras lose on penality kicks, 1-0
Alan Douthitt will never accept a loss.
However, Tuesday night was the exception to that philosophy.
East Central has advanced to the state championship game each of the past two seasons, but that didn’t stop Claremore from giving the Cardinals their first close call against Class 5A competition.
The Zebras (1-1-3, 0-1) battled East Central to a scoreless draw through 100 minutes of action before finally dropping a 1-0 decision in penalty kicks.
Coach Douthitt said despite the loss, it was a favorable outcome given his team’s start to the season.
Claremore had given up 13 goals through four games heading into the contest, so holding one of Class 5A’s finest to a penalty goal was a victory in and of itself.
“We’re probably down a little this year, and they’re pretty good,” Douthitt said. “We’re committed to a really, really defensive formation and scheme, and the kids played brilliantly. They played out of their minds. “My backline gave them fits. Our goal was to frustrate them, and we did it. Their coach told me just that after the game. I told him we were going to try to make this ugly, and he said we succeeded.
“We’re missing a starting centerback to injury, but once we’re all back and really healthy, we’ll be OK. We struggle to score, but we’re really good defensively. We’re a good defensive team.”
Trent Steckline scored a goal during regulation that would’ve likely given the Zebras the upset win, but it was called off thanks to an untimely offsides penalty.
Although Claremore opened district play in the loss column, Douthitt is optimistic after the outing against the Cardinals (4-2, 1-0).
“A one-goal differential with them heading into the rest of district is a good thing for us because they’re going to beat a lot of people in our district badly,” Douthitt said. “They’re really good.”