The first place Bolivar High School senior Luke Sergent’s thoughts went after his Liberator soccer team won the Class 3 District 11 championship were to his teammates and the impact they’ve had together.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the great team we have,” Sergent told the BH-FP.
Bolivar claimed a 1-0 win over Willard on Wednesday, Oct. 4, to win its first district title since 2011. It also won titles in 2010 and 2009, when it advanced to the state title game and eventually placed second, according to the Missouri State Highschool Activities Association website.
The significance of the moment isn’t lost on the team, Sergent said.
“Winning districts this year is amazing,” he said.
Coach Steve Fast said the hard work his team has put in this year paid off Wednesday.
“I am proud of their effort last night and this season,” he said. “There have been many obstacles over the course of the season, and these guys just kept pressing on.”
Bolivar’s goal from the opening whistle had been to frustrate Willard’s defense, which was “in scramble mode the entire first half,” Fast said.
In the 51st minute, Bolivar’s Andrew Lewis scored the game’s lone goal with an assist from Zach Warwick.
Fast said the sophomore Warwick was able to head the ball to Lewis, a junior, who buried a jumping volley shot past the stunned goalkeeper.
“Willard came at us really hard after that, even pressing more guys up from the defense to try and equalize,” he said. “Our defenders did an outstanding job holding them off.”
Goalkeeper Trenton Arnold clocked nine saves.
“This was a tremendous effort by our defense and goalkeeper,” he said. “Willard averaged four goals a game and had won 16 games this season against a very tough schedule. It was impressive to see a total team effort from our guys. You could see their confidence getting stronger and stronger as the game went on.”