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Liberty High varsity girls soccer preview

Challenges and opportunities

NORTH LIBERTY– It’s not easy building an athletic program from scratch.
“It’s been a crazy start to the season, and the weather (recently) didn’t help,” Liberty varsity girls soccer coach Frank Fiordellisi said. “I feel like it’s even crazier being a new program.” Fiordellisi was an assistant coach to David Rosenthal for Iowa City West High’s varsity program for nine years before pursuing the top spot at Liberty. “I was attracted to the coaching position at Liberty High because I live in North Liberty, and because there has been such an excitement for the new school to open,” he said. “It also seemed like a natural transition to move over to Liberty from West because all of our students were once students at West or lived in those boundaries.”
Part of that transition has included going from having everything to having practically nothing. “When I was at West we had most of the stuff I am dealing with in-place, one of which is no practice or game field on campus,” he noted. Liberty’s stadium is currently under construction, but the Lightning will have to seek other facilities this inaugural season, including the Coralville Youth Sports Complex for home matches.
Fiordellisi and assistants Ryan Steward (five years’ experience at West High) and Tyler Pauley were still assessing their squad ahead of their first match on Monday, April 2, at West Delaware. “(It’s) hard to know exactly who all the starters will be,” Fiordellisi said. “We have a lot of inexperience on the team.”
Likely candidates include seniors Nicole Hoeg (keeper), Madi Barta (defender, earned a varsity letter at West High), Sydni Von Sprecken (midfield/forward, also earned a varsity letter at West) and Maddie Bartelme (defender). Also in the mix are sophomore Briana Ervin (forward) and freshmen Elise Hermiston (midfield), Lucy Kaskie (defender) and Isabel Machlab (defender/midfield).
“We’ve got a great group of kids that have already started to bond and come together even though very few of them have ever played together before,” he said. “We even have several kids that play many different sports that are out for soccer for the first time. With this being Liberty’s first season, they have an opportunity that they may not have had at bigger schools with many experienced players.”
The Lightning will play across conferences and classes this season before Liberty High officially joins the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) this fall.
“We’ve got a wide variety of teams on the schedule,” Fiordellisi said, including, “Some of the 3A MVC schools that will be our conference opponents next year (Linn-Mar, Cedar Rapids Prairie), some 2As and even some 1A schools (including highly-ranked programs such as Iowa City Regina and Center Point-Urbana).”
As with any athletic program, the potential for rivalries exists. For Liberty it could be “Bolts Vs. Boats (Clear Creek Amana’s Clippers) or Liberty Vs. West High. “I think natural rivalries are created when you have multiple high schools in the same city and within a close proximity of each other,” he said. “However, we also have great respect for, and want to support, the schools within our community.”
Liberty’s first home match will be on Thursday, April 5, against Cedar Rapids Prairie with the varsity at 4:30 p.m. and the JV squad taking the field around 6:15 p.m.

2018 Liberty High School
Varsity Girls Soccer Schedule

Thursday, April 5 HOME Vs. Cedar Rapids Prairie 4:30 p.m.
Friday, April 6 AT Marshalltown 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 10 AT Iowa City Regina 5 p.m.
Thursday, April 19 AT Fort Madison 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 21 AT Solon 10 a.m.
Tuesday, April 24 HOME Vs. Independence 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 26 HOME Vs. Dubuque Hempstead 4:30 p.m.
Monday, May 1 AT Cedar Valley Christian (Alburnett) 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 3 HOME Vs. Hudson 5 p.m.
Monday, May 7 AT Muscatine 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 8 AT Center Point-Urbana 5 p.m.
Monday, May 14 HOME Vs. Cedar Valley Christian 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 15 AT Newton 4:30 p.m.
Friday, May 18 AT CCA (varsity doubleheader) 5:15 p.m.
Monday, May 21 AT Linn-Mar TBD
Tuesday, May 29-Mon, June 4 Regionals -
Thursday, June 7-Sat, June 9 STATE TOURNAMENT, Des Moines -