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Liberty Edged by Winthrop, 3-2
The Lady Flames fall to 1-2 in the Big South Conference and 2-8 overall with the setback. The Lady Eagles move to 2-0 in conference play and 3-4-4 overall.
Winthrop jumped on the scoreboard in the opening minutes of the contest. The first Eagle shot of the game by Katie Schrudenbach was batted away by Liberty keeper Ashley Nyholt (Fr., Brampton, Ont.). The batted ball fell at the feet of forward Chelsea White, who netted her fifth goal of the season to give Winthrop a 1-0 edge at 10:33.
After the goal, Liberty went on the attack with four shot attempts over the next 12 minutes of play, each of which sailed wide.
At 22:50, the Eagles added to their advantage. Michelle Butler picked up a loose ball at the top of the penalty area and lofted a shot over the keeper for a 2-0 edge. The marker was the midfielder's second on the year.
For the rest of the opening half, the squads exchanged shots, with no further scoring. In the 31st minute, a free kick by Maggie Woody (So., MF, Asheville, N.C.) from 20 yards out was stopped by Winthrop goalkeeper Dimitra Poulous. Later, a Brittney Bench (Sr., F, Orefield, Pa.) shot in the 36th minute forced a save by the Eagle keeper. Meanwhile, Nyholt corralled a Butler shot in the 33rd minute to prevent Winthrop from adding to its lead before intermission.
In the second half, Liberty pressured the Eagle net early. On a corner kick in the 54th minute, a shot by Amy Oberlin (Jr., MF, Ada, Mich.) got behind the Winthrop netminder and had to be cleared off the goal line by an Eagle defender to keep the Lady Flames from getting on the scoreboard.
On the counter attack, Winthrop upped its lead to 3-0 at 60:49. White fed Ashley Bader with a through ball into the penalty area for her first goal of the season.
The Lady Flames quickly cut into the deficit 54 seconds later. Midfielder Mallory Neff (Jr., Sunbury, Pa.) sent a long, bouncing shot in on the Winthrop goal, which Poulous tipped out into the penalty area. A pursuing Tanya Payne (Sr., F, Prescott, Ariz.) fired the ball past the out-of-position keeper for her second goal of the season. The marker at 70:43 cut the Liberty deficit to two at 3-1.
Over the next eight minutes, Liberty kept the pressure on the Winthrop net. A header by Suzanne Edwards (Sr., F, Waxhaw, N.C.) popped over the crossbar, while a shot off a corner kick from 20 yards by Christina McDonald (So., MF, Rosewell, Ga.) went just wide of the far post during the stretch.
At 78:40, the Lady Flames cut their deficit to a single goal. Edwards sent a crossing pass to the right side of the penalty box for Payne. The forward then dropped a pass to Bench, who fired a shot into the lower left corner of the net, to make it 3-2, Winthrop. The tally was Bench's second of the season.
In the last 10 minutes, Liberty pushed the ball deep into the Winthrop end on several occasions, forcing four corner kicks, but could not get the equalizer.
For the game, the Lady Flames outshot the Eagles, 18-6, while holding a 10-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Nyholt made two saves in the first half in the Liberty net, while Lauren Kamphuis recorded one in the second half. Poulos made four stops in the contest for Winthrop.
Liberty steps out of conference on Tuesday evening, as the Lady Flames host Southern Virginia at Liberty Soccer Field. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.