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Liberty Begins Big South Play with 3-0 Victory Over Radford
With the win, the Flames, who entered the contest ranked eighth in the South Atlantic Region, improve to 5-1-1 on the year and begin their conference slate with a 1-0 mark. The Highlanders drop to 3-5 overall and 0-1 in the Big South.
In an evenly played first half, Liberty weathered a flurry of shots by Radford in the early stages. In a span between the eighth and 10th minute, the Highlanders got off three shot attempts. Midfielder Will Thomsen started the stretch with a corner kick which went off the near post, and a shot by Taylor Jenkins sailed high, ending it.
After exchanging shots for the next few minutes, Liberty opened the scoring at the 29:43 mark. From his defender position on the right side of the Flames' zone, Michael Ward (R-So., D, Seffner, Fla.) found open space, carrying the ball past midfield. Ward then hit midfielder Juan Guzman (So., Charleston, S.C.) in stride with a pass into the left side of the penalty area, which the sophomore deposited into the back of the net for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 Liberty advantage.
A few minutes later, the Flames had an opportunity to add to their lead. A foul in the penalty area gave Liberty a penalty kick, but the attempt by Adrian Bumbut (Sr., F, Zalau, Romania) was blocked on a diving effort by Radford keeper Zach Roszel, keeping the Liberty edge, 1-0 at intermission.
In the half, Liberty held a 5-4 advantage in shots, while Radford held a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.
The Flames extended their lead early in the second half. A deflected pass by Daniel McGarry (Jr., MF, Philadelphia, Pa.) found its way to forward Toby Lewis (Sr., Morrison, Colo.), who blasted a shot past the keeper for a 2-0 Liberty advantage at 57:40. The marker was the second of the season for the forward.
Radford tried to cut into the Liberty advantage with added pressure in the last 15 minutes. However, Liberty goalkeeper Paul Gilbert (Fr., Rockvale, Tenn.) made a stop on a shot by Emmanuel Joseph in the 87th minute to preserve his fourth shutout of the year.
Bumbut upped the Flames' edge at 88:19 with the final tally of the night. Liberty leading scorer Bumbut took a pass from McGarry and put a shot into the lower right-hand corner of the net for a 3-0 margin. It was Bumbut's fourth goal of the season.
In the contest, Liberty outshot Radford, 13-8, while the Highlanders held a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.
Gilbert made two saves behind another strong defensive effort by the Flames. Rozel recorded five saves in the Radford net.
Liberty closes out a three-game homestand by hosting the Winthrop Eagles in a Big South Conference match on Saturday afternoon. Match time is scheduled for 1 p.m.