NORTH LIBERTY — Kolby Godbolt can make a significant impact in a limited amount of time.
The Iowa City Liberty sophomore midfielder played in just five boys’ soccer matches last season due to injury, yet managed to post nine goals, two assists and was named an honorable-mention selection on the Class 2A all-state team.
Godbolt and Liberty are anxious to see what a full season of health will bring.
“I’m really excited because it is looking up,” Godbolt said after scoring a goal off the bench in a 2-1 victory for Class 2A No. 16 Liberty over 1A No. 8 West Liberty in a non-conference match Friday night at Liberty High School. “I think our team is better this year, so I think we have a chance to maybe make it to state.”
Torn cartilage in the back of the right kneecap curtailed Goldbolt’s season last year, while a blow to the head on Monday limited his minutes against West Liberty. Still, his goal in the 33rd minute gave the Lightning the lead for good and was his seventh this season.
“When Kolby is in there versus when he is out, it is a huge difference,” Liberty Coach Ben Watson said. “He controls the game. He is definitely our most-experienced player. He just has a good sense of where he needs to be.”
Junior forward Patrick Ndaruhutse tacked on an insurance goal with a penalty-kick conversion in the 67th minute for Liberty (4-3), which proved vital as Gabriel Seele of West Liberty (3-2) converted his own penalty kick with just under six minutes left.
Liberty won 10 games and reached the 2A regional seminals last year, the debut season for the program. This season, the Lightning are competing for the first time as a member of the Mississippi Valley Conference, which brings a host of talented 3A schools to their schedule.
Fourth-ranked Iowa City High visits on Tuesday.
“We’re going to have some tough games ahead of us,” Watson said. “There are teams that make it to state every single year and expect to make it to state.”
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Class 2A No. 16 Iowa City Liberty 2, 1A No. 8 West Liberty 1
Goals — ICL: Kolby Godbolt, Patrick Ndaruhutse; WL: Gabriel Seele.
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