Liberty men’s soccer falls in Big South ranking after loss to Radford
- Early Radford goal sets momentum in their favor and led to 4-2 win.
- Liberty’s loss also resulted from not taking as many chances and opportunities for goals as Radford did.
Liberty men’s soccer lost to Radford University Wednesday, Nov. 1, 4-2 after a brutal fight for both teams’ rankings in the Big South standings.
Within the first seven minutes of the game, Radford scored a goal after tipping it in the net, followed by another goal at the 17th minute and a third at the 27th minute.
Captain defender Nico Bellarde said the team was giving Radford too many chances and not taking enough themselves.
“Our players were being pressured on their backs, and we were still giving them the ball, and that allowed Radford to counter us almost every time,” Bellarde said.
Liberty forward, Tresor Mbuyu was able to push past Radford’s goalkeeper at the 38th minute to shoot into the corner of the net, causing the team and crowd to go wild.
“Our highlight was Tresor’s goal,” Bellarde said. “We had plenty of chances to put the ball away, but he found a way to beat the keeper and put the shot away at a weird angle. It was 3-0 so it gave us hope before half time.”
Radford scored shortly after Mbuyu’s goal at the 38th minute, bringing the game to 4-1 at the end of the first half.
Radford took 13 shots the first half of the game and Liberty only six.
“We did not deal with them like we should have,” head coach Jeff Alder said. “We have got to be a little bit cleaner with the ball, we have to deal with some of their crosses.”
Bellarde said the defensive pressure on Liberty resulted in bad passes and not enough looking on the field to find someone that was not being pushed by Radford.
“We need to play stronger, more physical and be more intentional with passing and our plays,” Bellarde said. “If our teammate is being pressured in the back and then maybe find someone else, another source or clip it over them.”
Liberty came back into the second half with new energy intentions.
Alder said the team had a talk after the game about the second half and why it was different than the first.
“We had a great second half,” Alder said. “We told the boys the second half is all about pride so let us see what you are made of.”
Alder said Radford is a good team, but Liberty is as well. It just comes down to taking chances and not giving away so many goal opportunities.
“They made us pay for our mistakes,” Alder said.
Alder said the second half made him proud of the team, and it showed him what they were about no matter what the circumstances.
“The second half showed who we were, the guts and the willingness to keep fighting,” Alder said. “It was about character, and I like who our character is.”
Bellarde made it clear that this was an important game for Liberty to win. Because of the loss it dropped Liberty to fourth place.
“If we would have won this game, we could have possibly gotten first if not second,” Bellarde said. “There was a lot on the line and we did not come out and perform like we should have.”
Alder said they saw some improvements that needed to be made before Sunday’s game against Gardner-Webb.
“That is who you are, we must start faster and not beat yourselves, we have had one of the top defenses all year and it was the first night where our team’s defense just was not good and that is something we hang our hats on,” Alder said. “We will be ready to go on Sunday.”
The next day, Sunday, Nov. 5, the Flames defeated Gardner-Webb University 3-0, snatching the much-anticipated third place after losing Nov. 4 to Radford University.