March 15, 2014 Updated: March 15, 2014 at 6:15 pm
It wasn't ideal, at least not at first.
When Hannah Wells agreed to give up her defensive position to become Liberty's inexperienced starting goalie, she never expected the squashing pressure that came with the task, nor the 0-2 record that followed her early into the season.
Some would say that might have been the time to re-evaluate. And others, well, they might have pressed the panic button right then and there.
Not Wells though. She knew the Lancers, who made it to the Class 5A quarterfinals last season, would bounce back.
And she knew, she would be there, holding down the net.
"I have one of the best defenses in the state in front of me, and I am going to work hard to get better and better as our keeper," Wells said. "It's been stressful, but I love it."
Starting this weekend, things were looking up as Wells recorded her first shutout and first three wins at the 26th annual Kadet Kickoff Classic. The Lancers (3-2) fought off cold winds at Air Academy High School to beat Cherokee Trail 2-1 and shut out Fruita Monument 2-0 in Friday's and Saturday's first- and second-round matches, and beat Douglas County 2-1 Saturday to claim the championship.
Mackenzie Englekins and Morgan Metcalf each scored in the finale, while Wells' only goal against was a bit unlucky against the Huskies, as the ball was redirected to a wide-open Douglas County player after it plunked a referee.
"Hannah has been absolutely amazing for us," Lancers coach Andy Liddle said, after last year's freshman goalie Catherine Kline moved to Germany over the summer. "We thought we'd have a few years with CK, but that is part of being in an Air Force family. Hannah has come in and been terrific for us."
And then some. In fact, Wells looked primed for her new position even before the Kadet Kickoff.
The junior gave up a double-overtime goal in her first game against Cheyenne Mountain and two more against Legend in her second start.
This weekend, Taryn LaBree and DeeDee Boains each scored Friday to help Wells grab her first career victory in net, and Katie Kola and Metcalf added two more in Saturday's semifinals win.
"My team has been supporting me from Day 1 of tryouts, and I know they will throughout the season," Wells said. "And I'll do my best to help them out, too. I am excited for the challenge."