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Liberty's Bumbut Nets Pair of Goals in 3-0 Victory Over Mt. Vernon Nazarene in Opener
Liberty, 1-0, wins for the second-straight year in its season opener, while Mount Vernon Nazarene drops to 1-1 in the young season.
The Flames jumped out to a fast start in the match, pressuring the visitors from Ohio from the opening kickoff. The pressure paid off, when Liberty converted its first shot of the year on a free kick to take a 1-0 lead, just 3:27 into the contest.
After a Cougar foul at the top of the box resulted in a free kick for the Flames, Bumbut (Sr., F, Zalau, Romania) quickly took advantage of an unorganized Mount Vernon Nazarene defense and blasted a shot into the lower left-hand corner of the net for his first goal of the year.
In the ensuing 20 minutes of play, the Flames controlled the action, keeping Cougar netmider Alex Stout busy by firing five shots on the Mount Vernon Nazarene net. However, Stout was equal to the task, stopping all five.
Liberty extended its advantage to 2-0, when Lewis (Sr., F, Morrison, Colo.) put a diving header past the Cougar netminder in the 24th minute. Off a corner kick, midfielder Juan Guzman (So., Charlotte, N.C.) found Bumbut, who put a quick pass into the box, which a diving Lewis headed out of the air and into the left side of the goal for his first of the season.
Later in the half, Lewis tried to add to the Liberty lead with a hard shot from the left side of the box, but Stout made an outstanding, leaping save to keep the Flames from increasing their lead before intermission.
After the Flames outshot the Cougars, 8-1, in the first half, the contest turned into a back-and-forth affair during the first 15 minutes of the second half. Once again, Liberty forced Stout to make several saves in order to keep the score at 2-0, while Mt. Vernon was able to get three shot attempts off, with each going wide.
In the 73rd minute, the Flames added to their advantage of the day. Bumbut took a pass from Lewis and made a nifty move to the left, creating space from two defenders, and rifled a blast into the right-hand corner of the goal for his second marker of the afternoon. The goal gave Liberty its final margin of victory, 3-0.
For the match, Bumbut tallied two goals and added an assist, while Lewis netted a goal and assisted on another.
A strong defensive effort by the Flames allowed the Cougars just four shots on the afternoon and only one to reach goalkeeper Paul Gilbert (Fr., Rockvale, Tenn.), who collected a shutout in his collegiate debut.
For the match, Liberty outshot Mt. Vernon Nazarene, 15-4, while holding the edge on corners, 7-1.
Stout made seven saves in the Cougar net, while Liberty's Gilbert turned away one Mt. Vernon attempt.
The Flames travel to Buies Creek, N.C., for a match at Campbell on Wednesday. Match time is set for 7 p.m.