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Lady Flames Fall on Second Half Goals
Liberty drops to 0-4 in conference play and 0-10-1 overall. High Point remains unbeaten in Big South action with a 3-0 mark and is 7-2-4 overall.
With rain falling throughout the contest, Liberty took an early 1-0 lead just 1:04 into the game. Maria Owen (So., MF/F, Mount Jackson, Va.) picked up a loose ball at the midfield and moved past several Panther defenders. The sophomore drew another defender to her, just outside the penalty area, and chipped a pass into the box, putting forward Silvia Betancourt (Fr., F, San Jose, Costa Rica), one-on-one with the High Point goalkeeper. Betancourt lifted a shot over Panther netminder Marisa Abbott's head and into the top of the net for her second goal of the year and a quick 1-0 Lady Flame edge.
High Point evened the match at 1-1 in the 21st minute. Midfielder Kelly Farrell dropped a pass from the right wing into the center of the field, just above the 18-yard box, for Renee Hitchcock. The pass hit Hitchcock in stride, and the forward scored her fifth goal of the year at 20:59 to even the contest.
Liberty's Betancourt forced a save by Abbott in the 25th minute, while teammate Amy Oberlin (Sr., F/MF, Ada, Mich.) required the Panther keeper to make another save in the 30th minute. Sandwiched in between the two Liberty shots, High Point midfielder Taylor Ray fired on a shot on the Lady Flame net, which Liberty keeper Karen Blocker (Fr., Bowie, Md.) turned away to keep the match tied.
In the 39th minute, Blocker stopped a shot off the foot of Panther Katie Taber, as the teams went to intermission tied at 1-1.
High Point opened the second half by taking a 2-1 edge in the 51st minute. Jumping on a turnover in the midfield, Sara Rager dribbled down the center of the field and into the penalty area, where she netted her fourth goal of the year with a shot from in close to give the Panthers a lead at 50:28.
High Point upped its advantage to 3-1 in the 78th minute. Jillie Johnston, who had entered as a substitute in 61st minute, found free space in front of the Liberty net for a shot. Blocker stopped the attempt, but the ball squirted free back to Johnston, who scored the rebound for her second goal of the year, at 77:52.
Liberty looked to cut into the Panther advantage with pressure over the next six minutes. Owen began a stretch of three-straight Lady Flame shots in the 79th minute with an attempt, which Abbott stopped. Oberlin fired a shot on the High Point net in the 84th minute, only to be turned away by Abbott. Betancourt completed the run of attempts in the 85th minute by trying to chip a shot over the Panther keeper's head, which she was able to corral, maintaining the match's final score.
High Point held a 17-11 advantage over Liberty in shots on the afternoon. The Lady Flames edged the Panthers in corner kicks, 3-2.
Blocker recorded five saves for Liberty, while Abbott made five saves for High Point.
Liberty continues Big South Conference play on Saturday, when the Lady Flames host the UNC Asheville Bulldogs at the Liberty Soccer Field. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.