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Wilson's Goal Lifts Liberty Past High Point in 2OT
Forward Sachem Wilson scored 18 seconds into the contest's second overtime to give the Liberty Flames a 1-0 victory over the High Point Panthers, Saturday afternoon at Osborne Stadium.
After a scoreless first 100 minutes, Wilson took a pass from Glodi Konga at the center of the 18-yard box, turned and scored into the lower left-hand corner of the net moments into the second overtime. Wilson's team-leading seventh goal of the year at 100:18 gave Liberty the win in the final match of the regular season for both teams.
A tightly contested match throughout, shots were at premium on the day for both teams. Liberty limited High Point to seven shots on the afternoon in securing its sixth shutout of the season.
Playing in his final home game at Osborne Stadium, senior goalkeeper Scott Sutarik made three saves for the Flames and tied his single season high of six shutouts in the contest. In 2011, Sutarik also posted six shutouts.
With the clean sheet, the keeper passes former Liberty standout George Nimo (1987-1990) and moves into second on the program's shutout with 22 for his career.
Liberty closes out the regular season at 6-3 in Big South play and 11-5-1 overall. High Point finishes its regular season with a 6-2-1 mark in conference action and 9-7-2 overall record.
For the most part, play in the first half was in the midfield with every possession contested. Neither team could generate many scoring opportunities, as both squads put on solid defensive efforts. The half finished with the shots even at 3-3.
High Point had two scoring opportunities foiled by Sutarik in the first half. During the fourth minute, Mamadee Nyepon, the Big South leading scorer, moved a step in front of a Flames' defender at the top of the box and lined a shot, which Sutarik smothered.
Later, defender Sonny Mukungu got a shot attempt during the 22nd minute. Off a free kick 25 yards out on the right sideline, Mukungu took the lofted kick in stride on the left side of the box and pushed a shot towards Sutarik. The Flames keeper snagged the shot to keep the game scoreless.
Liberty's best scoring opportunity of the half came during the 40th minute. Midfielder Brady Mazzei jumped in front of a clearing pass and ripped a shot from 25 yards out, which Panther goalkeeper Cody Palmer reached out and snagged out of the air to keep the Flames off the scoreboard.
In the second half, tight defense by both sides continued until the latter stages of the period. After Nyepon headed a shot high during the 83rd minute off a free kick from 20 yards out, Liberty forward Tyler Bullock countered with a shot which forced Palmer to stretch out and deflected out for a corner kick during the 85th minute.
Two minutes later, Liberty was able to feed a pass into the Glodi Konga at the right post. However, Palmer knocked the ball down and smothered it to relieve the pressure on the High Point net.
In the last minute of play, Flames defender Tim Harbison lined a shot from the left sideline forcing Palmer to deflect the ball out, but the Panthers cleared the ball, sending the contest to overtime.
Liberty was able to organize for two shots during the first 10 minute overtime period. However, the Flames came away empty.
Off the second overtime kickoff, the Flames were able to set Wilson up with the golden goal for the 1-0 win.
Liberty outshot High Point, 12-7, and held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Palmer made five saves playing the entire contest in goal for the Panthers.
With the regular season over, the Flames, the No. 5 seed, will travel to Rock Hill, S.C., to square off with No. 4 seed Winthrop Eagles in one of four Big South quarterfinal matches, Tuesday. Match time has yet to determined and will be announced once the entire seedings and pairings for the entire 2014 Big South Men's Soccer Championship are released later tonight.