The Liberty Bell High School boys’ soccer team bracketed wins over Brewster and the Wenatchee High School C squad around a loss to league-leading Tonasket last week, as the Mountain Lions began showing the team cohesion coach Mike Baerveldt has been striving for.
At Brewster on April 9, the Mountain Lions and Bears battled to the last second in an extended contest that ended with a 3-2 Liberty Bell victory on penalty kicks.
Baerveldt said Liberty Bell played its best match to date against Brewster, with more Mountain Lion players available.
Liberty Bell squandered a few scoring opportunities early in the game, Baerveldt said, and a mistake in the transition from defense to midfield right before the half resulted in Brewster going up 1-0.
“We made some adjustments at half and came out battling, with the both teams trading chance,” Baerveldt said. “We won a corner kick in the 53rd minute, which saw a brilliant cross sent in by Owen Hevly to the top of the 6-yard box at the near post where Kohl Simmons rose up and met the ball, easily heading into the back of the net to tie up the match, 1-1.”
Brewster responded with a goal off a deflected shot in the 61st minute, going up 2-1.
Liberty Bell continued to apply pressure as Hevly and Henry Jones consistently found space and carry the ball through the midfield, Baerveldt said.
“Jones found Sebastian Kar and sent him through onto Brewster’s goal and Kar was able knock the shot past the onrushing keeper to even the score at 2-2,” Baerveldt said. Regulation time ended with the score still knotted. Liberty Bell goalkeeper Simon Studen registered four saves in regulation.
Two 5-minute sudden-death overtimes produced no goals, and the game proceeded to penalty kicks.
Brewster scored first, then Kar calmly slammed a spot kick home to even it up, Baerveldt said.
“Studen dove to his left and blocked Brewster’s next attempt, and Bellamy Kar was able to step up and neatly tuck his kick attempt into the side net, to put Liberty Bell ahead 2-1 after two rounds,” the coach reported. “Brewster’s third attempt was sent over the crossbar. Henry Jones stepped up and converted his penalty kick to put Liberty Bell up 3-1.”
Studen got two hands onto Brewster’s fourth attempt, but it squirted under him and into the goal. “Kohl Simmons stepped up for his shot and with a stutter-step banged it into the upper right corner to end the game,” Baerveldt said.
Liberty Bell got locked up in another kind of shoot-out on April 11 at Tonasket, where the Mountain Lions found the net often but not as often as the Tigers in a 7-5 loss.
“I have to say it was quite an exciting goal-fest, the coach said.
Liberty Bell scored at 8 minutes (Sebastian Kar with an assist by Simmons); 10 minutes (Bellamy Kar unassisted); 13 minutes (Simmons with an assist by Sebastian Kar); 26 minutes (Simmons unassisted); and 42 minutes (Simmons with an assist by Jones).
“We went up 4-2 by the 30-minute mark, but then they evened it up by halftime,” Baerveldt said. “The second half started with us scoring immediately, but they countered a minute later to tie it up at 5-5. They scored again at the 53-minute mark to go up 6-5, and there it stayed as we fought to get forward and pressure their goal. We had a number of opportunities but were unable to level the score; they scored in the final minute to seal the game 7-5.”
Studen had a busy day with 10 saves.
On Saturday, Liberty Bell hosted a Wenatchee High School C team that it had lost to, 5-0, earlier in the season. The Mountain Lions reversed that outcome with a 4-0 shutout.
“Saturday’s match was another solid step forward in the team’s progression as our young players are gaining experience and the team is understanding how to play together and finding their identity,” Baerveldt said.
Liberty Bell lit the scoreboard at 8 minutes on a free kick play as Simmons was able to follow up his own shot and find the back of the net off the rebound.
Wenatchee’s consistent passing attack allowed the visitors to penetrate the midfield and beyond.
“They were getting quick passing combinations through that zone and overwhelming our Henry Jones a bit. If it wasn’t for some stellar goalkeeping from Simon Studen, we would not have escaped the half ahead 1-0,” Baerveldt said.
“We made some adjustments during halftime, dropping Owen Hevly back next to Henry, and we dropped our forwards back to tighten up the midfield space that Wenatchee was exploiting, and this yielded immediate results,” the coach said.
Sebastian Kar scored in the 46th minute on a brilliant individual effort. He picked off a Wenatchee pass, beat two players off the dribble and slotted home the goal, Baerveldt said.
“The game began tilting more towards Liberty Bell as the half wore on and Henry and Owen were consistently able to combine through the middle and spring attacks forward,” the coach said. “Kohl Simmons notched his second goal when an alert Bellamy Kar saw an opportunity on a quick throw-in down the sideline to Kohl, who beat his defender off the dribble and hit a lovely shot past their keeper to put us up 3-0. Only a couple moments later, Owen Hevly intercepted a pass at midfield and dribbled onto goal, putting in a low shot that was nicely parried by Wenatchee’s goalkeeper into Sebastian Kar’s path and Sebastian neatly cleaned things up by tucking it into the goal for his second goal of the day, putting the match at 4-0.”
Strong defensive efforts by Alex Whites, Michael Mott, Seth Kurtz and Kieren Quigley helped keep Wenatchee scoreless for the final 14 minutes. Studen finished with 10 saves.
Liberty Bell was at Bridgeport on Tuesday (April 16), hosts Manson on Thursday (April 18) at 4:30 p.m., then stays at home on Saturday (April 20) to face Bridgeport again at 11 a.m. Oroville will visit Liberty Bell next Tuesday (April 23), starting at 4:30 p.m.
Liberty Bell is 1-2 in league play, 2-4 overall.