Oct 21, 2008

Soccer undefeated in past two contests, 2-3 in Big South

by Chris Wong

The Liberty Flames men’s soccer team continued its success this week, going undefeated with victories over Southern Virginia (SVU) on Tuesday and conference newcomers Presbyterian.

On Tuesday, the Flames competed against the Southern Virginia Knights. Senior Joshua Boateng scored two goals and senior Justin Willoughby scored a goal shutting out the Knights, 3-0.

The Flames celebrated Senior Night on Tuesday, honoring all their senior athletes for their college careers on the soccer field. Coach Jeff Alder started seniors Mike Gelatt, Daniel McGarry, Boateng, Bill Pinette, Cameron Chastain, Douglas Nyame, Juan Carlos Chavez and Willoughby.

“We got to play everybody. All the seniors got a chance to start and got rewarded for all their effort, so it was great to see all those guys play and contribute and do well,” Alder said.

The first action of the half came when Liberty’s Juan Nino snuck through SVU’s defense and kicked a goal into the net with 18:30 on the clock. Unfortunately, the goal was waved off due to an offside call on Liberty.

Boateng said, “In the first half, we weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing.”

The SVU defense held strong with goalkeeper Jason Lowe recording six saves in the match-up. Both defenses did not allow for many shots in the first half, with Liberty recording nine and SVU recording two at the end of the half.

“We thought if we just got the first goal it would break the game open,” Alder said.

Liberty managed to break through at the start of the second half when a Knight defender committed a foul in the SVU box, resulting in a penalty kick. Boateng managed to kick the ball in the right corner of the goal, adding the games first point to Liberty. With 15:10 left, Boateng connected for his second goal off of junior Chris Osborne’s crossing pass, blasting a shot past Lowe and putting the Flames up 2-0. Toward the end of the game, Willoughby capitalized with his third goal of the season, punctuating Liberty’s 3-0 win over the Knights.

“I think coach definitely fired us up in the second half, and made us realize that we need to start focusing on the little things rather than the big picture,” said Daniel McGarry.

The Flames defense shut out the Knights in the second half, leaving them with no shots or goals put on the board.

“The concern was that we weren’t creating chances, but now we’re creating a lot of chances, we’re defending very well as a group, and I feel were getting ready at the right time for conference play,” said the defending Big South Coach of the Year. “We got a lot of conference games coming up. They only remember you for what you do in November.”

On Saturday afternoon, Liberty competed against the Presbyterian College Blue Hose. Liberty pulled through with a 2-1 victory in its first ever game against Presbyterian.

Starting in the first half, Presbyterian controlled the tempo of the game. Though Presbyterian managed more shots than the Flames, Liberty’s defense stifled the Blue Hose in the first half as the teams battled to a scoreless tie going into the half.

“We’re playing really good soccer and I really feel we’re due to explode against somebody because we’re creating a lot of chances. The balls just not going in right now,” Alder said.

After a pep talk at halftime, the Flames took control of the game, increasing their shots to 10-8 over Presbyterian. Liberty came out the locker room shooting, with a goal by Cameron Chastain early in the second. Osborne assisted Chastain as he tapped the ball into an open Presbyterian net.

With the score 1-0 in the middle of the second half, Willoughby saw an open Boateng streaking towards the goal. Boateng aggressively took Willoughby’s pass and drove past defenders to a one-on-one match-up with the Presbyterian goalkeeper, who he beat, extending the lead to 2-0.

Late in the second with less than 10 minutes on the clock, Presbyterian’s Yinka Salaam put home his first collegiate goal, but it was too little too late as Liberty earned a 2-1 victory.

Following both wins, the Flames record now stands at 7-5 overall and 2-3 in the Big South. Liberty returns to action tonight as they welcome Gardner-Webb before hitting the road for a Friday afternoon showdown with Longwood. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.


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