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2007 Women's Soccer Spring Season Recap
In a game played in heavy rain throughout, Heather Bowling opened the scoring with a header off a Mallory Neff corner to put the Lady Flames up, 1-0. Right before halftime, Bowling came close again with an almost identical effort which hit the near post.
Lynchburg broke away on the counter attack for the equalizer early in the second half, but Liberty responded just minutes later. Brittney Bench sliced through the Hornets' defense and coolly slotted home the winning goal for the 2-1 victory.
"We were disappointed to concede the goal, but to come right back and score is very positive," stated Lady Flames head coach James Price. "We created plenty of chances in difficult conditions and were unfortunate not to add to our total output."
Liberty started their spring campaign on March 24 with two setbacks at Radford and Virginia Tech. The Lady Flames went down to defeat, 2-0 on both occasions.
"We did not compete well enough in the first half of either game and dug ourselves too deep of a hole to get out of," Price recalled. "In addition, we conceded some sloppy goals. That's something, we will need to improve upon when we have possession of the ball."
A week later, on March 31, Liberty faced Colonial Athletic Association power James Madison, and got off to a great start with an early goal from Tanya Payne, after a good effort from Amy Oberlin on the right side. Payne added another goal in the second half when she sent a cross from the left wing into the back of the net. However, the Dukes rallied with two goals within the space of five minutes to tie up the game late and nearly pulled out the win before the closing buzzer.
"For 85 minutes, we defended very well and played some good soccer," noted Price after the contest. "Unfortunately we went to sleep for those five minutes and James Madison will punish you for doing that. However, I was pleased with reaction of the team after the previous week's disappointment. "
April 5 saw Liberty play its only home game of the spring when the Lady Flames faced Big South Conference foe VMI. The Lady Flames immediately took the lead in the game's opening minutes as Mallory Neff directed a corner kick into the back of the net for a 1-0 Liberty advantage. Minutes later, Kendall Barthlolomew pounced on a rebound and put it past the goalkeeper to make it, 2-0. Bench found the inside of the post with a low shot just before the break to give the Lady Flames a 3-0 lead at intermission. In the second half, Liberty stretched its lead as Oberlin, Bartholomew and Bench each scored in the period for the final outcome.
"The score flatters us a bit, but it was nice to see our forwards get their goals and for our team to be able to create opportunities," Price commented. "I feel we were very organized at the back for the whole game too."
Longwood University provided the opposition on April 12 as the Lady Flames made the short trip up Route 460 to Farmville, Va. Liberty had its fair share of the ball possession in the first half and came close to scoring on a couple of shots from Oberlin and Neff without cracking the net.
Longwood came out as the stronger team to open the second half and after a mix up in the Liberty defense, netted the first goal of the game for a 1-0 advantage. However, Bartholomew picked up an outstanding through ball from Bench and powered home the equalizer several minutes later to knot the score at 1-1. Neither team could grab the winning goal in the final few minutes, as the game ended in a tie.
"Again, we conceded a bad goal, but responded in terrific fashion," stated Price afterwards. "I certainly feel we deserved something from this game, and for the most part, we competed well and controlled the game."
With the completion of the spring season, the Lady Flames will now turn their attention to preparing for the first game of the 2007 at Clemson on August 31.