Sep 15, 2009

Lady Flames dealt losses by ODU, Navy

by Jordan LoSasso

The Lady Flames soccer team continued to struggle as its record dropped to 1-4 after losing to Old Dominion and Navy this weekend, despite showing improvements between contests.

Liberty appeared to come out flat in the first half against Old Dominion, even though they had the home crowd’s support, allowing three goals in the first 20 minutes.

“I think a team always has an advantage to play at home, and we did not utilize that,” Lady Flames Coach Jessica Celi said.

The Monarchs’ first goal came in the second minute of action. After controlling the field, Ashlee Coutu scored from 20 yards out from an assist by Jodi Knorowski.

Liberty had two scoring attempts after the Monarchs’ goal from Laura Nyholt and Maria Owen at 5:37 and 9:30, respectively, but Old Dominion’s keeper blocked both shots. Coutu countered the Flames’ attack with another goal in the 10th minute to capture a 2-0 edge, which would prove to be the game-winning goal.

Coutu placed the ball in the left side of the net after taking the shot from the right, and Brittney Kortz was credited with the assist.
ODU took advantage of an offside call against Liberty to net another goal, extending the lead to 3-0 in the 18th minute.

Neither team advanced with a shot attempt for another 15 minutes until Owens narrowly missed a goal when her shot went wide right at 33:52. Liberty’s defense deflected another ODU shot attempt seven minutes later.

Liberty went to half down 3-0, which was too big a deficit to overcome, despite better play in the second half.

“Something we are going to work on is having a ready-to-go attitude from the start,” Owen said. “We definitely stepped it up in the second half.”

“At halftime I encouraged the girls that we are just as good as this team,” Celi said.

Lady Flames freshman Madison Short rode the halftime motivation into the game and put Liberty on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal from 15 yards out that sailed into the left corner of the net.

Karen Blocker kept the score 3-1, saving four shots in four minutes for Liberty. Blocker totaled 11 saves on the night.

The 3-1 win improved Old Dominions record to 3-3.
Liberty then took on Navy in a Sunday matchup that resulted in a loss but showed an improved performance that was not split by a bad first half and a well played second half, as was the case in the previous two games.

“I thought our consistency was great,” Celi said. “I thought we played (well) for 90 minutes.”

Liberty made the first scoring attempt of the game when Lauren Stell received a pass from Owen for a shot, but Navy keeper Beth Reed made the save. Navy responded three minutes later with two attempts, but Blocker was able to keep the score tied, saving both.

The Lady Flame’s best scoring chance came in the 15th minute when Owen broke away from Navy’s defense, but Reed made the save.

After a foul was called against Liberty, Navy took advantage of the ensuing penalty kick to score the game’s lone goal to take a permanent 1-0 lead.

Both teams traded possessions and scoring attempts for the remainder of the game, but neither were able penetrate the keepers’ defenses.

Blocker led the game with seven saves, and Owen had a game-high four scoring attempts.

With the win, Navy’s record improved to 6-1-1 and the Lady Flames dropped to 1-4.

The Lady Flames will face Valparaiso and Northern Illinois this week, both on the road.

*Peter Sawyer contributed to this article.

Contact Jordan LoSasso at jlosasso@liberty.edu.

 


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