Oct 21, 2008

Lady Flames soccer falls at hands of Highlanders, trounce Blue Hose 5-1

by Jake Petersen and Thomas Lourdeau

The Liberty University women’s soccer team faced off against the Radford Highlanders last Wednesday, fresh off their first victory of the season the previous Saturday against Big South member UNC-Asheville.

It was the Highlanders, though, who dashed the Lady Flames hopes of stringing together a winning streak, as they defeated Head Coach Jessica Celi’s squad 3-1.

Sophomore Maria Owen nearly put the Lady Flames ahead in the first half, as her shot off of a corner kick nearly trickled over the goal line before being cleared away by Radford’s defense.

Just a few minutes later, Radford’s McKenzie Vergara put her team on the board as she followed up Jill Boyer’s shot attempt in front of the goal, which was saved by Liberty goalie Ashley Nyholt, by sending in the rebound.

In the second half, the Highlanders went up 2-0 after Caitlyn Roan headed in a corner kick off the foot of Justine Dugger.
The Lady Flames had three chances to score in the 69th minute, as Owen and sophomore Rachel Michener bombarded Highlander goaltender Lisa Lubke who saved the final attempt from Owen after the previous two were blocked by the defense.

Melony Davis gave Radford a comfortable 3-0 lead in the 77th minute when she notched her fourth goal of the year following a crossing pass from Kathleen Jarvis.

Owen, who was unsuccessful in her first five shot attempts, finally connected on her sixth attempt of the night, beating Lubke with a shot from the 18-yard box into the upper right corner of the goal.

Lubke was solid in the final minutes, as she saved two heading attempts that would have tied the game from freshman Silvia Betancourt and senior Amy Oberlin. All four of her saves came in the second half as Radford finished off the Lady Flames for the first time since 2000, securing a 3-1 victory.

“Radford is a tough team. Their technique for winning the game was to kick the ball out in the clearing and use their speed to maintain possession of the ball,” said senior defender Emily House. “We fought hard until the end, but when it came down to it, we played their game instead of our own.”

On Saturday, the Lady Flames scored a season-high five goals in a 5-1 route of the Presbyterian Blue Hose. The win pushes the Flames record to 2-11-1 overall. Liberty, who began the season 0-10-1, has now won two of its last three games.

Defensively, the Flames suffocated the Blue Hose, holding them to just one goal on nine shots. Liberty goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt recorded four saves.

The Flames offense made themselves at home in front of the Presbyterian net, recording a season-high 19 shots in the contest.
Within two minutes of the opening whistle, Owen scored an unassisted goal from just inside the penalty box, her third of the season, as Liberty jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

In the fourth minute, Oberlin increased her team-leading total to five goals after catching a near-perfect pass beyond the defense from Owen and depositing it into the bottom corner of the net.

“We played with intensity the whole game, and it was too much for Presbyterian to handle,” Owen said.

Presbyterian’s Morgan Frangapang cut into the Liberty lead as she scored her first goal of the season from the penalty box in the game’s 41st minute.

The Flames tightened up defensively in the second half while piling on three more goals of their own. Mallory Neff scored her first goal of the season in the 70th minute.

Oberlin added her sixth goal of the season less than eight minutes later as she received a pass from Betancourt for the wide-open goal.

Sophomore defender Elia Lake rounded out the scoring in the 87th minute as Liberty cruised to a 5-1 victory.

The Lady Flames continue their season on the road for the next two contests against Gardner-Webb and Winthrop before returning home on Oct. 31 to face East Tennessee State at 7:00 p.m.





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