Issaquah jostles for first in boys 4A soccer logjam

April 19, 2011

By Bob Taylor

Jason Lichtenberger might be the Nostradamus of 4A KingCo Conference boys soccer. Entering the season the Issaquah High School boys coach predicted it would be another close race for the top spot in the standings.

Lichtenberger’s crystal ball is as clear as ever. Entering this week four teams, including Issaquah, were tied for first place. Two other teams were just three points out of first place.

These traffic jams are getting common in 4A KingCo soccer. When last season’s league play ended, three teams tied for first place and two were just one point behind the leaders.

“I knew it was going to be tight this season,” Lichtenberger said. “I knew Skyline was going to be real strong, and that Newport, Eastlake and Garfield would be real good. So it’s not surprising that it’s close at the top.”

Entering this week, Skyline, Garfield, Issaquah and Newport all had 13 points to share the lead. Eastlake and Inglemoor each had 10 points.

With most of the teams having four games left on the schedule, the final two and a half weeks should prove intriguing.

“If we win all four games, we should be in good shape for first or second, and the KingCo championship,” Lichtenberger said.

Issaquah played at Eastlake April 19 in a key game. The Eagles finish the regular season at home May 2 against Garfield, which won last year’s KingCo tournament.

The Eagles entered this week coming off of a dramatic 2-1 victory April 15 against visiting Newport. Issaquah took a 1-0 first half lead on a goal by Michael Roberts, assisted by Alex Shane. After Newport tied the score in the second half, Shane connected off a free kick at the 66th minute for the game-winning goal.

“It was a great win for us. We did what we had to do and that was play a full game for 80 minutes. It was our best game of the season, by far,” Lichtenberger said.

Newport entered the game in first place with a 4-1-1 record. However, the Knights learned early they were in for a tough fight.

“We put a lot of pressure on the ball, more pressure than Newport has faced this season,” Lichtenberger said.

The victory was the second of the week for the Eagles, who edged host Redmond, 3-2, April 12.

Drew Tacher scored two goals to give Issaquah a 2-1 halftime lead. Shane, who assisted on one of Tacher’s goals, sealed Issaquah’s victory with a goal at the 70th minute. Redmond, which put pressure on Issaquah in the final 10 minutes, scored its final goal at the 75th minute.

Goalkeeper Nathan King responded to Redmond’s pressure by making critical saves.

“He stepped up big time for us,” Lichtenberger said. “I feel he is one of the best keepers in the league.”

Skyline posts two shutouts

Skyline, probably the preseason favorite for the 4A KingCo title, recorded two victories, both by shutouts, last week.

The Spartans opened the week with a successful road trip April 11. Austin Crow and Braxton Griffin each scored goals as the Spartans defeated host Wenatchee 2-0 in a nonleague game.

Skyline then defeated Redmond, 2-0, April 15. Griffin and James Molyneaux-Elliott accounted for Skyline’s goals. Goalkeeper Steven Pankiewicz recorded another shutout.

Patriots tie Interlake

Liberty and Interlake battled to a 1-1 draw April 12.

Aaron Potoshnik, assisted by Alex Velasquez, put Liberty ahead at the 14th minute. The Patriots maintained the lead through the rest of the first half and part of the second half.

Interlake’s Sunjay Bhatia scored on a penalty kick at the 63rd minute to tie the game.

The Patriots lost to host Mount Si, 3-0, April 15. Alex Censullo scored two of Mount Si’s goals.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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