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Outstanding Defensive Effort Leads Flames Past Camels, 1-0
Liberty, with its second shutout in as many games, moves to 2-0 on the season, while Campbell, who began the week ranked seventh in the NSCAA South Region rankings, drops to 1-1. It is the first time since 2004, the Flames have started the season 2-0. Campbell lost for just the second time at home since the start of the 2006 season.
On the first shot of the contest, Liberty scored the game's only goal, less than six minutes into the match. Daniel McGarry (Jr., MF, Philadelphia, Pa.) played a ball down the left flank to Andrew Kappler (Sr., D, Bear, Del.), who curled a cross into the box. Phillips (Fr., Brownsburg, Ind.) volleyed the ball with his first touch on the outside of his right foot and put his shot just inside the left post. The freshman midfielder's first collegiate goal gave the Flames the only goal they needed on the evening.
Staked to a 1-0 advantage, freshman Flame netminder Gilbert (Rockvale, Tenn.) made it stand up the rest of the way with an outstanding night. The goalkeeper made seven saves, five in the first half, in recording his second shutout in his second Liberty contest.
After Phillips' score, Campbell put pressure on the Flames net, with Gilbert making two stops on shots by Camel Cam Petrasso in the next three minutes of play. On Petrasso's second shot of the sequence, midfielder Pat Danford lofted a pass over the Liberty back four and Petrasso broke in free on Gilbert, but his left-footed effort was stopped by the freshman netminder.
Liberty countered with shots from Adrian Bumbut (Sr., F, Zalau, Romania) and Juan Guzman (So., MF, Charlotte, N.C.) midway through the opening period, but both went wide of the mark.
Neither squad allowed a shot after the 30-minute mark of the half, as the match headed to intermission, 1-0 Liberty.
In the first half, the Camels outshot the Flames, 7-5, while holding a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.
At the break, five of Campbell's seven attempts were on target, but Gilbert saved each one. The Camels' best chance to equalize might have been in the 56th minute, when Josue Soto dribbled by a defender in the box, then sent a cross to an unmarked Josh Elliott at the back post. Elliott, however, missed high from inside 10 yards.
Gilbert made another outstanding stop less than four minutes later, when Soto's left-footed effort from just outside the box was knocked down, then covered by Gilbert, before Campbell could reach the rebound.
Three minutes later, Soto's pass again put Petrasso in a one vs. the keeper situation, but Gilbert held his ground again.
Just after 70 minutes had elapsed, the Flames missed three quick chances to extend their advantage. Bumbut broke in on Camel keeper Aaron Johnson one-on-one, but the junior netminder was able to turn away his effort from inside the box. Toby Lewis (Sr., F, Morrison, Colo.) put the rebound on net, but defender Michael Hutchison cleared the goal line. Lewis followed with another shot off the rebound, but the ball hit the right post and went out for a Campbell goal kick.
In the 74th minute, Bumbut broke free on a counter attack, but missed just wide left. Three minutes later, the senior forward connected on a right-footed curling shot from the top of the 18-yard box, but Johnson was able to tip the ball over his crossbar.
After 81 minutes, Bumbut again nearly hit the clincher, when he dribbled past Johnson, but defender Stephen Oyuga chested the ball down inside the six-yard box and away from danger.
The match was a typical affair between the schools from neighboring states. Four of the last five meetings (Liberty leads the series 3-1-1 since 2002) have been decided by one goal, and the other was a scoreless draw.
Liberty finished with an 18-12 edge in shots, while both schools directed seven attempts on net.
The Flames remain on the road this Saturday with a visit to Gardner-Webb. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.