Liberty settles for another tie Boys soccer


Suddenly the Liberty boys soccer team is in a mini-slump.

The seventh-ranked and unbeaten Lions have been forced to settle for two ties in the past three days against teams they were supposed to beat.

Last night, Liberty ran into a surprisingly tough Thomas Johnson team and had to settle for a 1-1 tie with the Patriots in a Central Maryland Conference game at Liberty.

Tuesday night, it was upstart South Carroll that notched a 1-1 tie with the Lions.

Liberty was on the offensive most of the second 10-minute sudden-death overtime last night but could not get the ball past Patriots goalkeeper Jason Kirk.

Kirk made four saves in the second overtime, with the most spectacular and possibly game-saving one coming with 5:43 on the clock.

Liberty's Steve Reigel sent a bullet toward the near post from 15 yards out that Kirk just barely got to in time to knock out of bounds.

Reigel then had a corner kick but he hit the ball right to Kirk, ending the last major threat for the Lions (8-0-2, 3-0-2) against the defending CMC champion Patriots (5-3-1, 3-1-1).

Liberty did get two more shots in the final minutes but neither was close to a score.

Kirk finished with 13 saves, one less than Liberty keeper Josh Gursky who had another outstanding performance.

Gursky was dancing and darting all over the net and running out of the goal to turn back several Thomas Johnson scoring opportunities.

Gursky had done his job for the 10th straight game but his offensive teammates couldn't finish off their chances again.

Liberty coach Lee Kestler Sr. said, "We wanted to play the game on the ground and we wound up playing in the air against a team that was taller than we are."

When Kestler was asked what has been the difference in the past two games after the 8-0 start, he said, "We're not stringing our passes together like we were. Nobody likes a tie but we didn't lose."

Thomas Johnson coach Kevin McMullen didn't see the tie as a surprise.

"We've lost two tough 2-1 games to Linganore and Glenelg and we're the defending champions," he said. "We were well-prepared for Liberty and had them well-scouted. We had the chances early in the second half but Gursky was exceptional in the net."

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