Liberal graduated 12 seniors from last year's 17-2 team who finished third in the state. The Redskins have just two seniors this year as they open on the field turf on Redskin Field. The Redskins play Great Bend Thursday at about 5:00 PM to begin defense of their eight straight WAC titles. Head coach Lori Navarro says her team is anxious to play on the refurbished Redskin Field. "They're pretty excited," Navarro said. "Everywhere we've played recently had turf and this gives them bragging rights for us to have such a nice facility. We still love our facility (on south LHS campus) we have. But to have turf like everybody else is pretty awesome for them."
Junior defenseman Joe Pena says the Redskins look forward to playing on turf. "We're pretty excited about our new home," Pena said. "We deserved it I guess. We worked hard to get here. We are pretty excited to try to get our first win here."
Navarro's teams have been to the "Final 4" in 5A five of the past six seasons. This year's team will have to overcome lack of varsity experience after losing nine starters to graduation. Key Redskins include: sophomore center midfielder Eduardo Moreno, junior center midfielder Hector Mata, senior defenseman Eduardo Campos, junior defenseman Joe Pena, sophomore forward Alvin Portillo, junior midfielder Jose Flores, junior defenseman Soccoro Martinez, and junior goalie Frederick Gomez. Soccorro Martinez says the Redskins will be strong on both ends of the spectrum. "We have a really strong offense this year," Martinez said. "On the defense, we lost a lot of seniors but I also think we'll be pretty strong there."
Liberal has 55 players out for soccer. Navarro says there will be a bullseye on Liberal. "We're trying to stay focused and usually that conference title comes first," Navarro said. "It's going to be tough maintaining it. The high expectations are there and we are going to have to work hard to keep tradition going."
Navarro was a guest on the Sportsguys Thursday morning on Talkradio 1270 and kscb.net.