The Liberty Flames men’s soccer team won a back-and-forth contest 3-2 against the University of North Carolina Greensboro Spartans Saturday, Aug. 24 at Osborne Stadium in their final exhibition game.
Forward Ernest Siaw scored the deciding goal on a cross into the penalty box by midfielder Sam Duininck.
Kyle Breitmeyer scored 14 minutes into the game, which gave the Flames an early lead. However, in the final minutes of the first half, the Spartans answered with a goal to bring the score to 1-1.
Liberty scored its second goal of the game in the 62nd minute after Duininck headed home a free kick taken by midfielder Tim Harrison.
Several minutes later, Spartan forward Brian Graham scored to knot the game at two.
Liberty Flames Head Coach Jeff Alder said that he was impressed with how his team responded each time it conceded a goal.
“I think that’s that steely resolve that we talk to our guys about having,” Alder said. “So regardless of how good or bad things are going, just stay in the fight and see if we can close this thing out.”
According to Alder, the exhibition match gave the team an opportunity to find their rhythm and learn about themselves.
“I felt both of their goals came off of unforced turnovers where we played a bad pass,” Alder said. “Maybe a sloppy pass and then we turned it over in the wrong spot and then we got hit on the counter. At times I thought our team defense looked good tonight, and at other times we had some communication breakdowns.”
Last season the Flames were 8-7-3 overall, which included a 6-1-3 record in conference play. However, despite earning the third seed in the tournament, they lost in the first round to eventual champions, Winthrop.
“That’s a game that still stinks,” Alder said. “There’s not many days that go by that I don’t think about that.”
Besides simply winning games, there are other goals that Alder has for his team this season.
“Every day we are so concerned with our process,” Alder said. “How do we want to play and what should we look like and really not chasing what is on the scoreboard even thought that is important, but playing the right type of soccer, being together and unified as a group.”
Alder also touched on what he considers to be the team’s higher calling.
“Soccer is our ministry,” Alder said. “That’s who we are. We are trying again to use our God-given abilities as a platform to share our faith with these other teams.”
The Flames will travel to Georgia State for their first regular-season game Aug. 30.