Miranda Liu came off the bench and scored a hat trick to help lead Piedmont High School’s girls soccer team to a 4-1 win over visiting Sonoma Academy on Feb. 18 in the second round of the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs.
The third-seeded Highlanders advanced to the semifinals on Feb. 22, where they will face No. 2 seed Urban-San Francisco at the Beach Chalet Fields in San Francisco at 6 p.m.
Sonoma Academy had eliminated Piedmont from the NCS playoffs last year, so it was a sweet victory for the Highlanders.
“Yes, it was and it was a good game,” Piedmont coach Dan Chubbock said. “They’re a good side. Well-organized, well-coached, some good players, but we were just better on the night. We looked sharp, we connected our passes. That was our strongest performance of the season. Hopefully we’ll be one better next time.”
Emily Fitzgerald opened the scoring for the Highlanders in the first half. Liu came on about 15 minutes in and used her speed to make it 2-0 later in the half.
“She’s a little whippet when she gets going,” Chubbock said. “They just couldn’t deal with her.”
“We gave her a job to do and she scored. The phrase I used is gamble. They’re going to miss one, you need to make sure rather than go for the first touch, you wait for them to go for the first touch and then you go in behind.”
Sonoma Academy got one back, but Liu again came off the bench in the second half and scored two more.
“For anybody to score a hat trick in an NCS game is incredible,” Chubbock said. “To do it as a freshman is really incredible.”
Audrey Lam returned after leaving the previous match late with a broken nose and a fairly severe nosebleed from a hit to the face against Convent of the Sacred Heart-San Francisco.
“She’s tough,” Chubbock said. “If she was allowed to play, she’s going to play. She takes players out of the game because of how she controls possession. She did get a ball to the face with about 10 minutes to go. We took her straight out. She went to head it and it just went awkward.”
Chubbock said his team has a chance against Urban, although the Blues are the higher seed. He said they have met in the past, but Piedmont was the higher seed both times and won.
“In the semifinals, it’s anybody’s game,” Chubbock said.