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Liberty Opens Big South Conference Play at Gardner-Webb
The Liberty Flames men's soccer team will look to start Big South Conference play on a strong note and return to the win column, when they visit the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs for a match, Saturday. Match time is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Greene-Harbison Field.
The contest will be the first Big South Conference match-up for both teams. The Flames were picked to place sixth in the conference standings, while the Runnin' Bulldogs were selected to finish seventh in the Big South's preseason poll.
How to Follow the Flames
A LIVE Video stream of Saturday's broadcast will be available through the Big South Network free of charge and can be accessed by clicking on the video link under men's soccer on LibertyFlames.com.
Live stats will be available for the contest through the Gardner-Webb Athletics Media Relations Office and can be accessed by clicking on the live stats link under men's soccer on LibertyFlames.com.
A Look at Liberty
Liberty, 2-1, will not only be looking to start its 2013 Big South campaign out on the right note, but get back on track after its first loss of the season, Saturday against Gardner-Webb.
After winning their first two games of the year with shutouts, the Flames fell at Wofford, 4-1, Wednesday. Despite scoring the contest's first goal, Liberty saw Wofford net four unanswered markers.
Midfielder Sachem Wilson scored his third goal of the season during the 20th minute to give the Flames a short-lived 1-0 lead in the contest. The goal turned out to be Liberty's lone goal in the match.
Wofford scored the first goal of the year by a Liberty opponent at 23:54 off a header on a corner kick. The Flames had held their opponents without a goal for the first 203:54 of the 2013 campaign.
Wilson, who was selected the Big South Attacking Player of the Week for matches played through Sept. 8, leads Liberty with three goals and seven points. Kyle Breitmeyer, Jacob Sebold and Jonatan Torres have each netted a goal for the Flames.
After recording shutouts in his first two outings, goalkeeper Scott Sutarik, the current Big South Defensive Player of the Week, gave up his first goal of the year, Wednesday at Wofford. The junior allowed two goals during 45 minutes of action. Sutarik will enter the weekend with a 0.80 goals-against average and an .867 save percentage.
Liberty head coach Jeff Alder is in his 13th year at his alma mater. Alder, who has posted a 118-87-22 career record, will rely on underclassmen during the 2013 campaign. Of Liberty's 25 players on its roster, 18 are either sophomores or freshmen.
A Look at Gardner-Webb
Gardner-Webb enters Saturday's contest coming off a 3-0 loss at Clemson, this past Sunday, evening their 2013 ledger at 2-2. The Runnin' Bulldogs won their lone home match of the season over USC Upstate on Sept. 4, 2-0.
Gardner-Webb's Denzel Clarke entered play this week ranked in the top-15 of four NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Statistical categories, including sitting second in the nation in total goals (5) and in total points (10). Midfielder Ali Al-Gashamy is ranked third in the nation in total assists (3) on the year.
Goalkeeper Matthew Swan has played every minute between the posts for the Runnin' Bulldogs this season. The freshman has posted a 2.24 goals-against average and .609 save percentage.
Head Coach Tony Setzer is in his 26th year at Gardner-Webb, recording a 178-282-33 career mark. Like Liberty, Setzer's team will be reliant on underclassman. 21 of his roster's 32 players are sophomores or freshmen.
All-time Against Gardner-Webb
The Flames hold a 9-4-2 overall series lead over the Runnin' Bulldogs on the pitch. However, GWU is 3-2-1 versus the Flames since joining the Big South Conference in 2008.
Last season, the two squads played to a 0-0 tie at Osborne Stadium. The last time the two teams met in Boiling Springs, N.C., the Flames defeated the Runnin' Bulldogs, 3-1, on Nov. 13, 2011 to claim their second Big South title.
Against the Big South
Saturday's contest will be the first Big South match for the Flames in 2013. Last season, the Flames finished the year tied for third in the conference regular season standings with a 6-1-3 record.
The Flames will open Big South play with a 93-79-14 all-time conference record. Liberty has posted a .500 or better conference ledger in 20 out of their 22 seasons in the conference.
The Flames have won two Big South titles, both during head coach Jeff Alder's tenure. Liberty captured conference titles in 2007 and 2011.
Duininck Answers Call
Defender Sam Duininck enters Saturday's match, having started every Liberty match the past three seasons. The two-time team captain has notched 41 consecutive starting assignments.
Sutarik Continues March up All-Time List
With two shutouts in Liberty's first two games against Georgia State and IUPUI, goalkeeper Scott Sutarik has moved into a tie for fifth place on the program's career shutout list with 13. The junior is tied with current Liberty assistant coach Andrew Madero, who manned the Flames' net from 2007-09.
A Look Ahead
Liberty will close out a three-game road swing with a trip to Washington, D.C., next Saturday. The Flames will visit American for a non-conference contest. Match time is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Reeves Field.
Liberty will then return home for a Big South Conference contest on Sept. 24. The Flames will host the VMI Keydets. Match time at Osborne Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m.