Oct 28, 2008

Lady Flames soccer gears up for last game of the season

by Giselle Colbert

Despite Liberty freshman Silvia Betancourt’s penalty kick in the first half, Gardner-Webb mounted a come back in the second half of last Thursday’s game against the Lady Flames and walked away with a 2-1 win. As a result of the Lady Flames loss Thursday night at Greene-Harrison Stadium, and Liberty’s record dropped to 2-6 in the Big South.

“Communication in the first half wasn’t as good as the communication in the second half. In the first half we played more as individuals. In the second half we came together and played as one,” said sophomore Maria Owen.

Although the Lady Flames lost the contest, Owen was pleased with her team’s effort.

“Towards the end I was proud of how we kept pushing,” Owen said.

In the beginning of the game, Gardner-Webb’s offense went to work, tallying three shot attempts in the opening minutes. However, two of the shots did not find their marks and one off the foot of Jillian Dean was corralled by Lady Flames goalkeeper Ashley Kneehole in the 12th minute.

Fighting with Bulldog goalkeeper Jessica Toggle, the Lady Flames fired away three shots from the 15th minute to the 22nd minute in an attempt to pull ahead. However, Toggle proved to be up to the task as she turned away all three shots, keeping the game in a scoreless tie.

Betancourt finally broke through with her third goal of the season as she freshman phenom beat Tuggle on a penalty shot in the 28th minute. The penalty kick occurred after a Bulldog defender fouled Betancourt.

However, the Lady Flames were unable to hold on to the advantage as the Bulldogs quickly caught up 20 seconds later on Angie Harvey’s penalty shot following a Liberty handball inside the 18-yard box, tying the game at one.

In the 40th minute the game, Gardner-Webb pulled away as Harvey dribbled the ball to the top of the box and passed it to teammate Tina Frost, who fired the eventual game-winning goal past Nyholt.

“All the girls did a great job keeping their composure during the game,” said Mallory Neff. “Several of us went into the game thinking they were going to be easy. We definitely underestimated them.”

The Lady Flames continued to press forward in the second half, but they were unable to catch up with the Bulldogs, who played solid defense in the second half to hold onto the 2-1 win.

Saturday Evening the Lady Flames and the Winthrop Eagles competed in a fairly tight game, which after two overtimes, resulted in a 1-1 tie.

Liberty began the game with the mindset of putting pressure on the Eagle defense as it launched the first three shots of the game. In the seventh minute, Owen forced a save by Winthrop goalkeeper Dimitra Poulos.

Once again, a penalty bug bit the Lady Flames, as they were whistled for a penalty in the game’s 16th minute, which resulted in Erin Foote’s fourth goal of the season and a 1-0 Winthrop lead.

Their lead was short lived, however, as the Lady Flames came storming back in the 20th minute with three consecutive shots. After senior Amy Oberlin’s shots were turned away by the Winthrop defense, the third attempt from Betancourt found its way into the back of the net for her fourth goal of the year and tied the game at one apiece at 23:42.

Both the Flames and the Eagles played hard at the end of the first half, battling for possession of the ball and trying to untie the game. Winthrop ended the half with four shots. Eagles midfielder Chelsea Tidwell attempted to score, however her shot bounced off the post in the 34th minute. Teammate Ann Lutzenkirchen attempted yet another shot for the Eagles in the 42nd minute; however Flames goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt denied access and kept the game tied at one.

In the second half both of the teams upped their game, tightening up on defense, making it impossible for the opposing team to score. Only six shots were attempted during the second half, four by the Eagles and two by the Lady Flames. Junior Maggie Woody attempted a shot in the 51st minute, but it was shut down by Poulos. However, that didn’t stop Liberty from pressing forward. Owen was able to put another shot on goal as time expired, but it was knocked away by a Winthrop defender as both teams headed to the first overtime.

During the first overtime, Owen attempted a shot in the 95th minute, but Poulos shut it down. In turn Nyholt made two saves during the last four minutes, sending the game into a second overtime period.

In the final overtime, redshirt senior Ashley Braam launched a shot in the last minute of the game, but Poulos came up with a clutch save. After 110 minutes of hard-nosed soccer, both Liberty and Winthrop walked away in a 1-1 tie.

The Lady Flames, whose record now stands at 2-12-1 overall, will play their final game of the 2008 season on Friday night against East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. at home.

 


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