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Neff's Goal Propels Lady Flames Past Patriots, 1-0
With its second-straight shutout, Liberty moves to 4-8 on the season, while Francis Marion drops to 6-6-1. All four of the Lady Flames' victories have been shutouts this season.
In the opening half, Liberty outshot Francis Marion, 9-5, but neither team was able to put a marker on the scoreboard.
After swapping shots for the first 30 minutes of play, the Lady Flames controlled played, firing four shots on the Patriot net, while allowing one shot attempt for the visitors.
Attempts by Amy Oberlin (Jr., MF, Ada, Mich.), Tayna Payne (Sr., F, Prescott, Ariz.) and Rachel Hetrick (Sr., F, Grantville, Pa.) each forced saves by Francis Marion keeper Jacque Sutphin in the last 15 minutes of the period.
Liberty opened the second half with pressure on the Patriot net with several shots over the first 10 minutes of play. Off a free kick in the 49th minute, a header in front of the net by Heather Bowling (So., F, Waxhaw, N.C.) hopped over the crossbar. Moments later, a shot off a scramble in front of the Francis Marion goal by Hetrick had to be cleared off the goal line by a Patriot defender to keep the contest scoreless.
At 55:13, the Lady Flames capitalized on a free kick from 20 yards out on the left side of the field. Midfielder Christina McDonald (So., Rosewell, Ga.) lifted the kick into the center of the penalty area. Neff (Jr., Sunbury, Pa.) emerged from a scramble in front with the ball and blasted into the lower left-hand corner for a 1-0 Liberty lead. The goal was the midfielder's second of the season.
The Lady Flames then held off several shot opportunities for the Patriots. Liberty netminder Ashley Nyholt (Fr., Brampton, Ont.), who had entered the game at the beginning of the second half, turned away two free kick attempts in the last 20 minutes of play. At 70:26, a shot off a free kick from Angela Salem was corralled by Nyholt, while a free kick at 84:30 was also denied by the freshman keeper, as the Lady Flames went on to the 1-0 victory.
Liberty outshot Francis Marion, 19-13, while holding a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks.
Lauren Kamphuis (So., Bloomington, Ill.) recorded one save in the first half in the Lady Flame net, with Nyholt stopping five shots in the second half. Jacque Sutphin made nine saves for the Patriots.
Liberty returns to conference play on Saturday, as the Lady Flames take to the road for a match at High Point. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.