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Liberty Downs Longwood to Advance to Big South Title Match
The No. 7 seed Liberty Flames used another solid defensive effort to post their second consecutive shutout, downing the No. 3 seed Longwood Lancers, 2-0, in the second Big South Men's Soccer Championship semifinal, Friday evening at Bryan Park Soccer Complex.
With the win, Liberty advances to the Big South Men's Soccer Championship title game on Sunday against the No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Liberty moves to 11-8 on the season and moves into their eighth Big South title game. The Flames have played for the Big South crown four times in the last seven seasons. Liberty will meet Coastal Carolina in the title game at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The contest will be televised on ESPN3. The Flames are the first No. 7 seed to play for the conference title since 1992. Longwood finishes the year at 7-9-4.
Liberty struck for the contest's first goal at 12:37. Midfielder Jonatan Torres lofted a corner kick into the left side of the 18-yard box, finding the head of Duininck. The senior's header found the upper left-hand corner of the net for his second goal of the year and a 1-0 advantage.
During the 23rd minute, Flames goalkeeper Scott Sutarik kept the Lancers scoreless. Longwood forward Anthony Ugori came free for a shot at the left post. Sutarik knocked the shot down and then went to the ground to control the attempt for the save.
Off a corner kick during the 29th minute, the Lancers were able to get an open shot for Christian Keilty from the top of the box. However, the forward's attempt sailed high.
A give-and-go passing play in the midfield by forward Tyler Bullock and midfielder Alex Dominguez resulted in a Liberty corner kick during the 37th minute. But Longwood was able to clear its 18-yard box without the Flames getting a shot opportunity.
Liberty closed the half with a shot by forward Victor Portillo at 43:18. The freshman made a move from the right to the center of the field, firing a shot. Lancer goalkeeper Carlos Carnas made a diving save to send the contest to halftime with Liberty up, 1-0.
Longwood held a 5-4 edge in shots, while Liberty enjoyed a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks during the opening 45 minutes.
The Flames extended their lead early in the second half. After midfielder Juan Nino was pulled down in the 18-yard box, Tim Harbison converted the penalty kick to give Liberty a 2-0 lead at 45:28. The goal was his fifth of the year.
In the 57th minute, Sutarik continued his solid play in the Liberty net. The junior keeper deflected a header by Keilty over the goal and out of harm's way. The Flames cleared the ensuing corner kick to keep their two-goal edge.
Liberty forward Kyle Breitmeyer forced a diving save by Carnas during the 63rd minute. Breitmeyer came free at the six-yard box for a shot, but Carnas was able to knock the shot down.
Less than three minutes later, Longwood's Ugori ripped a shot from the top, left corner of the box. Once again, Sutarik dove out and corralled the shot to prevent a Lancer score.
Over the final 20 minutes, the Liberty defense continued to keep Longwood from mounting any offensive pressure. A red card during the 70th minute aided the Flames, as the Lancers went a man down.
Longwood outshot Liberty, 12-8, in the contest, while the Flames held a 5-4 edge in corner kicks.
Sutarik made five saves on the evening between the posts for the Flames. Canas recorded three saves for Longwood.