Liberty boys soccer falls to Lake Washington

Kangs pushed around the Patriots en route to 5-2 win.

Midway through the season, Liberty High School’s boys soccer team was in the mix, playing good soccer and shaping to be a playoff team. But the last four games have been a nightmare that Liberty just can’t escape.

The Patriots fell for the fourth straight game 5-2 to Lake Washington on April 25. The results might not have been going their way, but their heads were still high coming into the game against the Kangs.

“We were feeling pretty good about ourselves, but they hit us in the mouth and it was tough to respond,” Head Coach Darren Tremblay said.

Lake Washington barely let spectators get to their seats, let alone maybe a pregame snack, before Ryan Bikdash headed in the first goal of the game for the Kangs on a corner in the second minute.

Bikdash made himself very familiar with the Patriot backline, and the back of the net for that matter. He scored his second goal 22 minutes later, giving the Kangs a 2-0 lead.

Lake Washington continued to give the Patriots problems in the first half as they took at 3-0 lead just 27 minutes into the game. Luke Derome’s goal equaled the total the Kangs scored in the first meeting between these two sides back on March 26 in 53 minutes less.

Liberty didn’t go into the half scoreless. One of the bright spots in a field of darkness was Liberty senior midfielder Mason Radulski.

“Mason was working his tail off. I was just impressed,” Tremblay said.

He was far and away the best player in the first half in blue, and was given a golden opportunity to put Liberty on the board. Jack O’Connell sent a free kick from about midfield into the box and his brother Liam flicked a header on target that Radulski put away past the Kang keeper in the 36th minute.

Lake Washington snatched the momentum right back, and Bikdash finished off his hat trick with a goal in the 52nd minute.

The fifth goal came just two minutes later when Andrew Alkin put away his first goal of the night. The five goals against Liberty is the most Liberty has allowed since it happened twice last season (April 6 at Juanita and March 28 at Lake Washington)

The Patriots didn’t fold despite the 5-1 deficit. Radulski did a bit of a Phil Foden impression and dribbled the ball through seemingly the entire Kang right side and back line before refiling a shot on goal for his second goal of the night.

“It’s easy to give up and let down and feel like the game is over. He stepped it up a notch. He’s done that all season,” Tremblay said.

Liberty used two different keepers between the posts in the 5-2 loss. Tremblay didn’t remove starter Gavin Honey for performance. But he wanted to give junior backup Tyler Rubenstein an opportunity in the second half.

“Gavin is our starter. They’re both good. Tyler played the first half of the year because Gavin was hurt. He (Gavin) was always our number one... Tyler hasn’t played much. I just wanted to give him a half. Gavin is a hell of a keeper,” Tremblay said.

With just one game to go, this is a Patriot side that went to the state tournament last year and now is fighting to survive. They take on a down Interlake side and will be the fifth seed in the KingCo Tournament that starts May 6.

“We’re going to try some different things. Bring some guys up from JV who I think can help us defensively. They might allow our current defenders to play in spots higher up,” Tremblay said.

If the Patriots can get Kensei Sugatani and Kellen Kobata on their front foot, along with Radulski in his current form, they can make some noise in the KingCo Tournament.

Kellan Kobata drives the ball up the field for Liberty. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Kellan Kobata drives the ball up the field for Liberty. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Brodie Benson hangs his head after falling 5-2 to the Kangs. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Brodie Benson hangs his head after falling 5-2 to the Kangs. Ben Ray / The Reporter