LHS vs. HHS girls' soccer

Photo by Tony Kukulich

The Liberty girls' soccer team dealt Heritage its first loss of the season in league play when Kaitlin Carlton (10) broke a 0-0 tie with only minutes remaining to play in Brentwood, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Seeding for the playoffs is scheduled for Feb. 16. (Tony Kukulich/The Press)

With Brentwood’s Heritage and Liberty girls’ soccer teams tied, the clock ticking down and missing a pair of shots on goal earlier in the match, Liberty’s Kaitlin Carlton was focused on dribbling down the field. 

It seemed that not even the aching cramps on her calves were going to stop her from what she was about to do. 

With less than three minutes left in the game, it seemed like the match between rivals Heritage and Liberty was going to finish in a scoreless draw. But Carlton made sure her right-foot shot would send the Lions off with a victory.

“I had to redeem myself,” said Carlton. “We’ve been working so hard ever since we last played them. Seeing our hard work pay off as a team was really rewarding.”

After receiving a through pass from sophomore Madison Del Prado, Carlton looked up, caught Heritage goalkeeper Tory Morfin off her line and, from 25 yards out, sailed the ball into the back of the net for the late 1-0 victory over Heritage.

The win solidified a clear path to the league title for Liberty, after a 5-0 victory over Antioch on Tuesday night, earning them a share of the title. 

“I knew that we would put our best foot forward,” said Liberty head coach Tony Martins. “It means a lot. It’s a rivalry. I’m very proud of our girls.”

The Jan. 21 tie between these teams only fueled this rivalry even more. The fans showed up. For a Thursday night soccer match, there seemed to be more energy than at some football games played at Heritage High School this season.

Heritage had its own viable opportunities. Kaya Scott sent a chip shot early in the game, but Liberty goalkeeper Kaelyn Adams — with textbook technique — tipped the ball away to preserve the tie. In the second half, Hailey Hamataka missed a wide-open shot.

Adams recorded seven saves in her clean sheet, including a deflection right before the whistle blew.

“It’s a honestly mental thing,” Adams said about keeping calm in a close game. “Making sure I’m staying in my head the whole time, and making sure I’m doing my best to scan and read the field to better my teammates. They came in strong.”