Miranda Barker displayed one of the best performances of her prep soccer career last Friday night.
The second year soccer star scored four goals to help lift the Thomson High Lady Bulldogs over the Liberty County Lady Panthers 4-3 in a come-from-behind Region 3-AAA victory at The Brickyard in Thomson.
"Our team played hard," Barker said after the game. "We united as the Thomson Lady Dogs."
Thomson Head Coach Jessica Ruark said she was proud her team's overall performance and their never-say-die attitude.
"I think they played their best soccer game of the season," Coach Ruark said. "Miranda had a great game, as did Shelby Gary. Shelby really stepped up her game for us, as did Sarah Kellogg. Sarah did everything in the game that we had practiced during the week. She had a lot of saves."
Earlier in the season, Liberty County defeated Thomson 4-0. Before the latest game between the two teams, Liberty County Head Coach Jarvis McArthur cautioned his players about being over confident.
"I told them not to be over-confident," Coach McArthur said after the game. "But they played a little over-confident and look what happened."
Barker scored the game's first goal with 31:57 left in first half action. Helping move the ball downfield so that Barker could make the goal was teammates Gary, Rebecca Hawkins, Michele Lina Sa, Caitlin Carpenter, Brea Boutwell and Whitney Hillman.
Thomson's lead didn't hold up long, though, as Liberty County's Mystery Ellert kicked a goal past Kellogg to tie the game, 1-1 at the 30:35 mark of the first half. The ball first hit the corner goal post before finding its way into the net.
Lina Sa along with Ashley Frankenfield provided some nice offensive moves with the ball for Thomson, but they were denied any goals by a strong Liberty County defensive effort. The Lady Panthers also were kept at bay by a fine defensive effort from Hillman, Carpenter and Taylor Clark.
Liberty County's Jeanna Rountree attempted a corner kick with 19:44 left in the first half, but Hillman stepped in front of the kick and blocked it. Carpenter did the same thing about four minutes later for the Lady Bulldogs.
The two teams remained tied at intermission.
Liberty County's Rountree scored on a penalty kick with 28:33 left in the game to give the Lady Panthers a 2-1 edge. Less than two minutes later, the visitors scored again to go up 3-1. Scoring that goal was Elyssa Lemapu with an assist from Anitrea Payne.
Despite being down by a pair of goals midway of the second half, Thomson showed their talent and determination, as they came right back to score not two goals, but three unanswered ones to claim victory - Barker getting all of those scoring honors.
Barker's winning goal sailed high into the air from about 30 yards away.
"It was a beautiful goal," remarked Coach Ruark, who is in her first year as both soccer coach and chemistry teacher.