Girls Soccer: Jaimason Brooker, seniors help Olentangy Liberty enjoy bounce-back season
Despite being just two games over .500 during the regular season in 2017, the Olentangy Liberty girls soccer team made it to a Division I state semifinal.
The Patriots didn’t come close to reaching that success the past two seasons, but things have taken a turn for the better this fall.
Midfielder Quinn Casey and forward Rachel Davidson — seniors who were key players as freshmen in 2017 — are among those savoring the team’s bounce-back season.
The Patriots were 9-1-2 overall after beating Hilliard Davidson 4-3 on Oct. 6 and 3-0-1 in the OCC-Central Division before facing Orange on Oct. 13.
“This year as a senior I have a big role as a leader and in guiding the younger classes,” Casey said. “I feel like we’ve been more successful this year because all of the seniors have had a positive impact. Our record is way better than it’s been, which has been a big deal with our seniors. I could tell from previous years that this senior class was going to be strong. We’ve had good chemistry, we’ve played together for many years and have just clicked way better than in past years.”
Liberty was seventh in last week’s area rankings. The district tournament drawing was Oct. 11.
The Patriots followed a 6-10-2 finish in 2018 by being shut out in three of their final four games and finishing 5-9-4 last season.
The emergence of sophomore forward Jaimason Brooker has helped solidify the offense.
After Liberty lost 1-0 to Olentangy on Sept. 12, Brooker scored 11 goals over the next five games, including all four in the win over Davidson.
“It’s been going very well,” Brooker said. “We’ve definitely changed a lot since last year and have come out a lot better. We’ve been scoring a lot of goals and countering up top, and our defense has been stronger, too. We struggled in the beginning of the year in developing confidence, but once we got a couple games in, we’ve gotten very good at believing in ourselves.
“I play center forward and I just help my team. I’m looking for all the through balls. I’m countering on all the punts. I pressure very high and am there just to help. We could definitely work on our communication skills, but it’s been getting better the last couple games. We need to work on our spacing and getting wide.”
Through 12 games, Brooker had 18 goals and four assists and Davidson had seven goals and four assists to lead the Patriots.
Senior defender/forward Victoria Susi (1 goal, 3 assists), senior midfielder Olivia McKain (3 goals, 1 assist), junior forward Alex Hill (3 goals, 8 assists) and Casey (3 goals, 5 assists) also have been among the key contributors.
Sophomore goalie Taylor Thomas gave up 14 goals over her first 12 starts.
Liberty is in its third season under coach Hillary Carter, who was an assistant during the state tournament run in 2017.
“It’s been great,” said Mike Crosky, who was the junior varsity B coach last season and is now serving as the varsity assistant. “It’s just a different vibe and this group has just got a good cohesion about them. They all get along, which is really important, and there are no clicks or selfish players.”