Moments after Truman was defeated 8-2 by Liberty in a Class 3 state sectional playoff game Tuesday at Excelsior Springs High School, the tears flowed from the eyes of what seemed to be every player in a Patriot uniform. The stunning end to a fabulous 19-2 season was too much for some to bear.

The end of the season in sports is so sudden, so swift, that the emotional impact can be felt for days, weeks, months and in some cases even years.

But, the end of one of the most successful campaigns, if not four-year runs, in school history? That can crush a competitor to the bone.

Moments after Truman was defeated 8-2 by Liberty in a Class 3 state sectional playoff game Tuesday at Excelsior Springs High School, the tears flowed from the eyes of what seemed to be every player in a Patriot uniform. The stunning end to a fabulous 19-2 season was too much for some to bear.

“This is going to make me cry,” Patriot senior forward Sarah Franklin said when asked to described how she felt after the game. “It’s just like, leaving these girls – I don’t want to leave them, but I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year. I can’t complain.”

Patriots head coach Bryan Schmitt had little to complain about despite the end result. Schmitt – who is leaving Truman after seven seasons to coach next season at Grain Valley – saw his team cut an early 2-0 deficit down to 2-1 on a goal by Franklin in the 21st minute and again watched with pride as the Patriots cut a 4-1 deficit down to 4-2 on a goal by Amber Young in the 30th minute.

Three goals by Liberty in three minutes, beginning at the 47th minute, put the game out of reach and brought on an onslaught of emotions from a Truman team that featured 12 seniors on its roster.

“We allowed them to get behind us a couple of times, and they made us pay for it,” Schmitt said of a Liberty squad that is nationally ranked. “It’s hard to give up that many against a good team and come back. At the same time, we played hard the whole game.

“They’re a great team and obviously they’re blessed with a ton of talent, but I was proud of our guys. We had a great year.”

The loss closes the chapter of the Truman athletic careers of several Patriots, including Franklin, the school’s all-time leading goal scorer; Kristi Blau, the Patriots’ second-leading goal scorer all time; and Courtney Eisman, Taryn Nash and Callie and Nikki Lucas.

Also bidding farewell to Truman was Shelbi Beeman, Brittney Ahring, Julie Bjerke, Leigh Crownover, Elaine Kabrick and BriAnne Jewell.

Most of the group played a part in four consecutive district titles and a state quarterfinal berth in 2008.

“I just thanked them for the last four years,” Schmitt said as he made his way through a throng of Patriot supporters, including one player’s mother giving out heartfelt hugs. “It’s been the best four years I’ve ever had the chance to experience coaching, and I’ve been doing this for 17 years.

“This was my favorite four years hands down. These are incredible kids. But more than that, they were soccer players. They were a special group.”

Franklin – who scored the 155th goal of her illustrious four-year career to finish as the No. 5 all-time goal scorer in Missouri high school girls soccer history – said she is sad to see the run come to an end.

“Years before we would have given up on ourselves, but we didn’t this year,” Franklin said. “I know the score doesn’t show it, but we really just kept trying because we didn’t want our last game to be like this.

“This has been like the best four years of all of our lives. It’s just really sad to go, but I know we are going to stay in touch.”

LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 5, SEDALIA SMITH-COTTON 0: A long ride for Smith-Cotton was made even longer when transportation problems forced the Tigers to be a half hour late before the scheduled 5 p.m. kickoff.

Then, barely three minutes into the other Class 3 sectional at Excelsior Springs, lightning caused a 30-minute delay before McKenzie Kellogg’s header in the 17th minute sent the Broncos on their way to a quarterfinal matchup Saturday against Liberty.

“There were a lot of things that happened and in between there was a soccer game,” Broncos head coach Tim Richardson quipped after his team improved to 21-4 and earned a shot at its third state final four appearance in four years. “We tried to stay loose and get back out here and be semi-mobile. We felt like we started the game a little too tense, but we were able to slow down a little bit. Once we did that things started going our way a little more.”

In addition to Kellogg, Allie Stephenson scored twice. Aspen Williamson scored a goal and added an assist and Casey Williamson scored the other goal for the Broncos, who travel back to Excelsior Springs at 1 p.m. Saturday to face Liberty.

CLASS 3 SECTIONAL
at Excelsior Springs High School
LIBERTY 8, TRUMAN 2
Liberty        Truman
7    Shots on goal    20
12    Saves    5
1    Corner kicks    3
13    Fouls    13
1    Yellow cards    0
TRUMAN    2    0    —    2
LIBERTY     4    4    —    8
Keepers: Shelbi Beeman, Brittney Ahring, Truman; Stephanie Noelle, Bailey Barnett, Liberty.
Scoring
First half
LIB — Shea Groom (Brooke Williams assist), 16:00.
LIB — Kaysie Clark (Jenna Turner assist), 19:00.
T — Sarah Franklin (unassisted), 21:00.
LIB — Williams (Groom assist), 26:00.
LIB — Groom (unassisted), 29:00.
T — Amber Young (Courtney Eisman assist), 30:00.
Second half
LIB — Williams (Clark assist), 47:00.
LIB — Turner (unassisted), 48:00.
LIB — Clark (unassisted), 49:00.
LIB — Turner (Lynn Tott assist), 60:00.