Things looked grim for the Liberty Common School soccer team.
Trailing 3-1 in the 52nd minute against Heritage Christian, Liberty scored three goals in the last 28 minutes to force a 4-4 draw.
“We showed a lot of grit, a lot of resolve, and a lot of character to come back like that. It shows what you’re made of,” Liberty coach Dan Knab said. “I knew we had it in us, it was just a matter of having enough time on the clock.”
Heritage senior Matthew McGinley nearly broke Liberty’s hearts in the overtime period, but his free kick glanced off the crossbar.
“It looked good. I coached him when he was younger and I told him ‘you’re going to give me a heart attack.’ He gave me a thumbs up,” Knab said. “He just mishit it by a fraction of an inch.”
He nearly crushed the Eagle’s comeback late in regulation with a free kick goal in the 74th minute, but Liberty sophomore Arjun Gill tied the match at four with less than two minutes left.
“It made (me) a lot happier. Coming back felt really great,” Liberty freshman Mason Campbell said. “It felt like a win to us.”
Campbell started the Liberty rally in the 44th minute with a curling goal from the outside.
“He is the most creative player I have on the team,” Knab said. “When you have a player like Mason that creates opportunities, good things happen.”
McGinley led Heritage Christian’s attack with three goals, scoring in close early and from further out as the game went on.
“He’s strong, he has two feet that can hit cannons,” Heritage coach Cyrus Salehi said. “He can just take over games and that’s why they triple-teamed him the whole game, and our guys didn’t capitalize on it.”
Heritage (3-2-1) tensed up after the team took its 3-1 lead rather than playing down the sides as it had to build the margin. All Salehi could say about it was that Heritage just “stopped playing soccer.”
Liberty (3-1-2) will take the field again Sept. 24 against Alexander Dawson at the Fort Collins Soccer Complex, while Heritage hits the road Sept. 27 at Denver Christian.