Facing their only loss of the year against visiting El Dorado, the Liberty Ranch Hawks girls soccer program finished their condensed year in second place in the Sierra Valley Conference.
The Hawks were defeated by the Cougars 3-1 at Liberty Ranch High School for their first loss to finish the year at 5-1-4.
The teams had tied 1-1 in their first meeting of the season on May 6; the Cougars ended the year undefeated at 6-0-3 in the SVC.
This season, two of their youngest players ended up making an impact offensively. With her team-leading five goals, freshman Natalie Merlin made the most of her first year with the team. Ellianna Keiser, another freshman, led the team with four assists.
Another of the Hawks’ younger athletes, sophomore and returning player Ariana Anaya, started at goalkeeper and allowed just seven goals while making 51 saves for the Hawks, not including the final game against the Cougars.
The Hawks, coached by returning head coach Rob Huarte, and assistant coach Brian Castaneda, had eight returning players from last season.
Before the second game against El Dorado, the Hawks celebrated senior night, honoring Karli Dalbianco, who would later be announced as Liberty Ranch Female Athlete of the Year at the Hawks’ June 5 graduation ceremony, Anamarie Ramirez and Taylor Kanelos.