POWELL – The Olentangy Liberty girls soccer team was in control for much of the first half.
But an odd bounce turned into a Dublin Jerome goal and the Patriots never recovered in a 3-0 loss to the Celtics in non-league action Thursday night.
Riley Mullady fed through a ball to Sophie Magilligan that deflected off the heel of a Liberty defender and by the goalie. Magilligan got to the ball first and tapped it in low on the left to give the Celtics a 1-0 lead with 6:19 left in the first half.
“It was definitely a momentum changer,” Jerome coach Kelly Brothers said. “I just told them that I’m proud of them because we’re a fresh, new team to some degree and they’ve done nothing but impress me so far.”
“Our center-back tried to clear and it went the wrong direction,” Liberty coach Hillary Carter said. “It went toward the goal instead of away. I think our goalie was expecting the ball to be cleared and wasn’t prepared and then (Magilligan) got in behind her and (scored).”
Liberty had some opportunities to take an early lead, but couldn’t convert on a pair of free kicks and a corner in the first 32 minutes of the game.
Jerome took control early in the second half when Ellen Swift lofted a ball in from the top of the box to give the Celtics (4-1-1) a 2-0 lead with 33:50 left.
The Patriots appeared to get back into it when Rachel Davidson scored with 15:55 remaining. But the officials had blown the play dead on a ball out-of-bounds.
The Celtics turned the momentum back immediately, catching Liberty off-guard and Magilligan scored in the open field 21 seconds later.
“There was a pretty big opening there,” Brothers said. “I think that was another big momentum change.”
“I think it’s the disappointment of not getting the goal and then not preparing for the next play,” Carter said. “We know what we need to do, but when you have that kind of mental lapse … then teams take advantage of those opportunities.”
Maddie Kelley finished with six saves in goal to lead the Patriots (2-4-1).
Sam Melican recorded the shutout in goal for the Celtics, saving five shots.
Next up, Liberty opens up OCC-Buckeye play at home against rival Olentangy Orange Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m.
“We always play a really tough schedule and that’s done intentionally,” Carter said. “All the games that we’ve played so far are only going to prepare us for what we see in conference play.”