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Liberty to Face Winthrop in Big South Quarterfinal
The No. 5 seed Liberty men's soccer team will square off with the No. 4 seed Winthrop Eagles in a Big South Quarterfinal match, Tuesday evening at Eagle Field in Rock Hill, S.C. The contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The winner advances to the Big South semifinals against the winner of No. 1 seed Radford and No. 8 seed Campbell, Friday. The match, to be held at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C., is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Liberty (11-5-1, 6-3) won five straight Big South Conference matches and six out of their last eight contests to close out their regular season. Meanwhile, Winthrop (12-4-2, 6-2-1) closed out their regular season with back-to-back wins.
How to Follow the Flames
Tuesday evening's contest will be video streamed live on the Big South Network. The broadcast, provided by Winthrop athletics, can be accessed by clicking on the video link under men's soccer on LibertyFlames.com.
In addition, live stats will be provided by the Winthrop Media Relations department. They can be accessed by clicking on the live stats link under men's soccer on LibertyFlames.com.
Quarterfinal Preview with Jeff Alder
Liberty Flames Head Coach Jeff Alder talked with Alan York of the Liberty Flames Sports Network, this morning. The two take a look at tomorrow night's matchup.
A Look at Liberty
After a 1-0 win in double overtime over High Point, Saturday, Liberty finished its 2014 regular season with 6-3 Big South record and an 11-5-1 overall mark. With 18 points, the Flames finished fifth place in the conference standings and are seeded fifth for the Big South Men's Soccer Championship.
Last season, the Flames became the first No. 7 seed to play for the conference title since 1992, as they defeated No. 2 seed High Point and No. 3 seed Longwood to reach the title contest. Liberty has advanced past the first round in six of their last eight conference tournament appearances.
Liberty has outscored its opponents, 29-19, on the year. However, the Flames have allowed only one goal during their last three contests.
Saturday, Sachem Wilson scored 18 seconds into double overtime, giving the Flames a 1-0 victory over High Point. The goal was Wilson's team-leading seventh of the season. He also leads the Flames in points with 15.
Defender Tim Harbison is second with four goals, while seven other Flames have scored two goals apiece. Liberty has seen 11 different players score a goal this 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.
The senior keeper has posted 0.92 goals-against average and .779 save percentage in 16 games this season. He currently ranks second in the Big South Conference in goals-against average and shutouts.
Liberty alumnus Jeff Alder is in his 14th season at the helm of the Flames. Liberty has posted a 138-97-23 mark during his tenure.
A Look at Winthrop
Winthrop finished its 2014 regular season with a 6-2-1 Big South record and a 12-4-2 overall mark. The Eagles have posted their first 12-win season since 2008, this season. In addition, it is the first time since that same year they have won six league games in a season.
With 19 points, Winthrop finished tied for third with High Point in the conference's regular season standings. High Point received the No. 3 seed for the tournament by virtue of its victory over Winthrop earlier in the season. The Eagles will be hosting a Big South quarterfinal game for the first time since the conference's new tournament format began in 2012.
Winthrop enters the contest ranked fifth nationally and first in the Big South in scoring at 2.29 goals per game. The Eagles have had 12 different players score in 2014.
Sophomore Max Hasenstab leads the Eagles in scoring with 21 points. Hasenstab, who did not play in the first meeting between the two teams on Sept. 27, has missed five games this season, yet has scored nine goals in 12 games played. He ranks second in goals and third in points in the Big South. Senior Pol Sole is second in scoring with 20 points (7 goals, 6 assists).
Senior Guilherme Avelar was in net for the Eagles during the first meeting between the two teams on Sept. 27 and made five saves to earn the shutout, but junior Fabian Broich is likely to be in goal, Tuesday, as he's started the last two games and has only allowed one goal over the last 238:13. Broich has posted a 4-1 record with a 0.53 goals against average.
Head Coach Rich Posipanko is in his 25th year at Winthrop. The Eagles have posted 252-204-34 record during his tenure.
All-Time Against Winthrop
Liberty and Winthrop will be meeting for the 46th time, Tuesday. Liberty holds 21-11-3 advantage in the all-time series.
However, things have been much closer in Big South Tournament play. The Flames hold a 5-4-1 edge over the Eagles in the postseason.
The last time the two met in the Big South Tournament, Winthrop defeated Liberty, 2-1 in double overtime, at Osborne Stadium in the conference's quarterfinals in 2012.
This season, the Eagles defeated the Flames, 2-0, at Eagle Field on Sept. 27.
Liberty in the Big South Championship
Since joining the Big South Conference for men's soccer in 1991, Liberty is 24-18-3 in Big South Championship matches. The Flames have reached the title game eight times in program history, winning the Big South crown twice in 2007 and 2011.
Liberty won its first Big South crown with a 2-1 victory over Radford on Nov. 18, 2007 at Eagle Stadium in Rock Hill, S.C. In 2012, Liberty captured its second Big South title with a 3-1 win over Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C. on Nov. 13.
The Flames have posted a 10-3-2 record at the tournament during the past seven seasons, reaching the title game four times during the span (2007, 2009 2011 & 2013).
Last season, Liberty became the first No. 7 seed to play for the conference title since 1992. The Flames defeated No. 2 seed High Point, 1-0, and No. 3 seed Longwood, 2-0, to reach the title contest, before falling to No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina, 2-0, in the title game.
The Flames' most common opponent in the tournament has been the Winthrop Eagles. Liberty has posted a 5-4-1 record during their 10 Big South Championship meetings.
Liberty has faced Radford the second most times, nine, in the tournament and has posted a 5-2-2 mark against the Highlanders.
Liberty Against the 2014 Big South Championship Field in Tournament
Coastal Carolina................. 1-2
High Point........................... 3-2
UNC Asheville...................... 4-0
Liberty Posts 18th 10-Plus Win Season
With the Flames reached 10 wins in a season for the 18th time in the program's 40-year history of the program with a 2-1 win over Campbell, Wednesday. Eight of those years have been achieved during Head Coach Jeff Alder's 14-year tenure
In addition, for the second straight year, Liberty has won 11 games during the season. Last year, the Flames posted an 11-9 record.
- Liberty has outscored its opponents, 29-19, in 2014.
- The Flames finished the regular season 5-2 at Osborne Stadium. Liberty also posted a 3-1 record at home in Big South play.
- Liberty finished the regular season 6-3-1 away from Lynchburg. Liberty is 4-3-1 in away games and 2-0 in neutral site contests in 2014. In Big South play, the Flames posted a 3-2 mark.
- The Flames finished the regular season with a 5-2-1 record in non-conference contests.
- Goalkeeper Scott Sutarik was named the Big South Men's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for games played Oct. 20-26. The honor was his second Big South Defensive Player of the Week plaudit this season.
- Sutarik posted his 22nd career shutout in Liberty's 1-0 win in double overtime over High Point on Saturday. The clean sheet moved him past George Nimo (1987-90) for second on Liberty's all-time shutout list.
- Forward Sachem Wilson leads the Flames and is tied for fourth in the Big South with seven goals.
- Midfielder Tim Harbison and defender Jamie Foxwell are the only Flames to start every game this season.