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Woody Kicks Liberty Past UNC Asheville, 2-1
With the win in its last Big South Conference contest of the regular season, Liberty moves to 3-4 in conference play and 6-10 overall, while UNC Asheville closes its conference schedule at 1-6 and drops to 3-13 overall.
The Bulldogs took to the attack during the opening minutes of their last home game of the season, firing four shots in the first eight minutes of play.
After Liberty's first shot of the game by Suzanne Edwards (Sr., F, Waxhaw, N.C.) was stopped by UNC Asheville goalkeeper Veronica Lazar, the Bulldogs countered with the first goal of the game at the 13:10 mark. Forward Robyn Busha connected for her eighth goal of the season off a feed into the penalty area from midfielder Meagan Bradham, to give the hosts an early 1-0 advantage.
The half then saw most of its action in the midfield, with neither team getting another scoring opportunity until the 30th minute. The next chance came on a shot attempt by Liberty forward Kendall Bartholomew (Sr., F, Thaxton, Va.), which sailed high over the net.
The Lady Flames evened the score at 1-1 in the 32nd minute of play. Midfielder Hope West (R-Jr., Auburndale, Fla.) headed down a ball in the midfield to forward Rachel Hetrick (Sr., Grantville, Pa.). Hetrick turned and found space on the right side, blasting a shot past the keeper from 15 yards out at 31:50 for her first goal of the season.
After the Liberty goal, Lady Flames netminder Lauren Kamphuis (So., Bloomigton, Ill.) turned away shots by Bulldog forward McKenna Stockhausen and midfielder Katy Beeler over the last seven minutes of the period to send the contest to intermission deadlocked at 1-1.
The Lady Flames controlled play for most of the second half. Liberty peppered the net with four consecutive shots over a 12-minute span, beginning in the 50th minute. During the burst, Amy Oberlin (Jr., MF, Ada, Mich.) sent two shots in on net, forcing saves by Lazar. Defender Brittany Tyson (Jr, D, Souderton, Pa.) almost broke the tie in the contest's 60th minute, when a UNC Asheville defender had to clear her shot attempt off a corner kick, away from the goal line.
With Liberty keeping the pressure on the Bulldog defense, a foul by UNC Asheville gave Woody (So., MF, Asheville, N.C.) a direct kick attempt from 20 yards out in the middle of the field at 63:23. The sophomore rattled the free kick off the far post and into the net for her second goal of the season, and a 2-1 Liberty lead.
In the final 10 minutes of play, the Bulldogs were able to create two chances on corner kicks, but headers by Busha were both wisked out of harm's way, including one last attempt in the 88th minute which was corralled by Kamphuis, to seal the victory.
For the contest, shots were even at 13 for each side, with UNC Asheville outshooting Liberty, 9-4, in the opening half, while the Lady Flames held the same 9-4 edge in the second half. The Bulldogs held a slight 5-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Liberty's Kamphuis made four saves in the contest, while her counterpart in the UNC Asheville net, Lazar, stopped five shots.
With conference play now complete, the Lady Flames will await the outcome of the final weekend of Big South action to find out their seed and opponent for the upcoming Big South Women's Soccer Championship, Nov. 8-11, at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.
Liberty returns home for its final contest of the regular season on Friday night. The Lady Flames will host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in a non-conference contest. Before the match, the seniors on the Liberty roster, who will be playing in their final home game at Liberty Soccer Field, will be honored. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.