Lady Flames victorious at homecoming

Blocker improves school record for most shutouts to 18 with 2-0 win against Winthrop

The Lady Flames soccer team came out with tenacity on Homecoming Weekend, posting a 2-0 win over Winthrop University at the East Campus fields Saturday, Oct. 6.

Unable to get the win over Gardner-Webb in double overtime on Thursday, Oct. 4, the Lady Flames settled for the tie at home with the Runnin’ Bulldogs. Despite outshooting Gardner-Webb 34-6 in number of shots on Thursday, none found their way past the goalkeeper.

Just for kicks — Alex Mack handles the ball during the game against Winthrop. Photo credit: Timothy Sutton

After Thursday’s draw, in which multiple shots by the Lady Flames ricocheted off the crossbar, Head Coach Jessica Hain noted that the team had to “continue going until (goals) actually go into the back of the net and not just on the frame of the goal.”
After the game, Liberty worked on finishing goals, capitalizing on their shots and ball possession the next day in practice.

“We will improve. I have no doubt that we will be a huge threat by the end of the season,” freshman Jamie Bouffard said after Thursday. “Expectations for the team are very high. I expect to win.”

On Saturday, Bouffard’s expectations were met. Playing against conference rival Winthrop University, the Lady Flames snagged the lead in the first half and never relinquished it.

Sophomore Helena Pereira listened. With seven minutes remaining in the first half against Winthrop, Pereira ripped a shot into the net unassisted after working around a defender. The goal was Pereira’s first of the year and third of her career.

After Pereira found the back of the net, defender Lauren Stell recorded her fourth goal of the year, which she knocked in off of Brittany Aanderud’s assist on the corner kick. Stell, a senior defender, has four goals on the season, only one behind forward Bouffard, who leads the Lady Flames.

“The whole focus for this team this year was to build unity, and the whole team has come up and done that,” Bouffard said Thursday. “From the seniors to the freshmen, we’ve meshed into one team, you know, instead of cliques … we’ve been able to mesh and play really well together.”

Karen Blocker, the Big South’s Defensive Player of the Week, finished the game with seven saves. The redshirt senior now has 310 career saves. Blocker notched her seventh shutout of the season, which brought her career shutout number to 18 — a university record.

With the loss, the Eagles fall to 6-6-1 and 3-2-1 in the Big South Conference. The Lady Flames remain unbeaten at home after improving to 9-5-1 overall and 3-2-1 in the conference. The Lady Flames finished with 20 shots on goal, eight more than Winthrop.

Before the win over Winthrop, the Flames hosted their Alumni Weekend, welcoming in previous players to a game at 10 a.m. and a tailgate lunch, followed by viewing Flames football’s thrilling 42-35 win on the gridiron.

Liberty will look to keep up the momentum on Oct. 11, when they will face conference rival High Point in High Point, NC.

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