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Liberty Clinches Top 4 Seed on Senior Day

October 26, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Left to right: Seniors Megan Warner, Dawn Elmers and Casey Norris

The Liberty women's soccer team picked up a key win on Senior Day, defeating Coastal Carolina, 1-0, Saturday afternoon, at Osborne Stadium. With the victory, the Lady Flames clinch a top four seed and home game in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Big South Women's Soccer Championship on Nov. 3.

For the second straight contest, Liberty's Rebecca Smith scored the Lady Flames' lone goal off a Brittany Aanderud assist. With both teams scoreless in the 83rd minute, Aanderud fired a shot at the Chanticleers' net, ricocheting it off the far post. Smith cleaned up the loose ball, blasting it into the back of the net from six yards out.

Liberty improves to 12-5-1 overall, marking the third time in program history the Lady Flames have recorded at least 12 wins in a single season and the first time since 2005. That year, Liberty captured its third and most recent Big South Championship. The Lady Flames' seven Big South victories marks the program's largest single-season conference win total.

In addition, Liberty concludes the regular season with a 7-1 home record and perfect 5-0 mark in conference matches held at Osborne Stadium.

With the defeat, Coastal Carolina drops to 9-8-1 on the year and 6-4 in league action.

Liberty goalkeeper Holly Van Noord added to her single-season program record, earning her conference-leading 11th shutout on the year. Van Noord concluded the afternoon with six saves. On the opposite end, Megan Spencer played the entire contest in between the posts for the Chanticleers, finishing with eight saves.

The Lady Flames controlled the ball offensively for a majority of the contest, outshooting Coastal Carolina, 26-11, while holding a 5-4 advantage in corner kicks.

In the opening period, Liberty posted 13 shots compared to four for the Chanticleers. After two quick saves for Van Noord in the early minutes, the Lady Flames shifted the momentum. Dawn Elmers gave Liberty its best look at goal in the 17th minute of the stanza, bouncing a shot off the crossbar. The senior followed up with another attempt that was blocked by a Chanticleer defender.

Later in the 40th minute, Aanderud bent a shot from outside the 18-yard box. Spencer answered with a timely save, keeping the game scoreless at halftime.

The second period mirrored much of the first, with Liberty controlling the offensive tempo. Spencer continued to thwart the Lady Flames attempts, making saves on shots from Julia Delgatti, Maddie Boone and Elmers.

However, the fourth time proved to be the charm for Liberty, as Smith followed up on the shot off the post with less than 10 minutes in regulation, setting up the 1-0 final score. The marker was Smith's third of the season, while Aanderud's assist ties her with Delgatti for the team lead with four.

Prior to the contest, Liberty honored its three seniors – Elmers, Casey Norris and Megan Warner. Norris' appearance marked the 79th contest of her collegiate career, allowing her to surpass Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Nancy Davis for the most games played by a Lady Flame.

Liberty concludes the 2013 regular season in Farmville, Va., on Tuesday, squaring off with Longwood. The Lancers are currently tied for second place in the conference standings with Winthrop. Liberty leads the all-time series, 6-4-3. Game time for the 14th installment in the series is slated for 7 p.m.