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Liberty Defeats UNC Asheville, 3-1
Liberty moves to 1-4 in the Big South and 1-10-1 overall. UNC Asheville falls to 3-3 in conference play and 5-9-1 overall. The victory was the first for Lady Flames under first-year head coach Jessica Celi.
The first 20 minutes of the match was mainly contested in the midfield. The only two shots of the span came off the foot of Oberlin (Sr., MF, Ada, Mich.) in the sixth minute. The senior rocketed a shot which was blocked Bulldog goalkeeper Veronica Lazar. Oberlin pounced on the rebound and fired another attempt, which forced Lazar to make a diving save to keep the game scoreless.
Liberty jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the 25th minute. Oberlin sent a pass into the penalty area for Braam (R-Sr., F, Grand Rapids, Mich.), who had just entered the game as a substitute in the 22nd minute. The senior forward kicked the ball in stride, putting the ball into the back left-hand corner of the net for her first goal of the year at 24:47.
The Lady Flames added to their edge 2:25 later. Oberlin headed in a corner kick by Maggie Woody (Jr., MF, Asheville, N.C.) into the far side of the net for her third goal of the season at 27:12 to give Liberty a 2-0 lead.
In the 39th minute, Lady Flames goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt (So., Brampton, Ont.) made her first save of the night, corralling a shot off the left side from 20 yards out by Bulldog Kristina Montuori.
Liberty closed the period with Oberlin once again finding space to fire a shot in the 45th minute, but Lazar made another diving stop to send the contest to intermission at 2-0 Lady Flames.
The second half opened with Liberty midfielder Hope West (Sr., Auburndale, Fla.) sending a shot on net in the 49th minute, which Lazar handled.
Nyholt turned away back-to-back shot attempts by UNC Asheville midfielder McKenna Stockhausen in the 55th minute and Lauren Turnburke in the 57th minute.
Oberlin upped the Liberty advantage to 3-0 with her second goal of the night at 66:24. The senior picked up a loose ball in the midfield and with no Bulldog defender in front of her, made a long run into the 18-yard box. Oberlin fired a blast which hit the post and went in for her fourth goal of the year.
UNC Asheville got on the scoreboard in the 76th minute. After a foul gave the Bulldogs a free kick 25 yards out, Juliana Duncan lofted the kick into the left side of the penalty area for Mary Kate Tucker, who headed the ball into the top of the Liberty net. Her first goal of the season made it, 3-1 Liberty.
In the 80th minute, a shot by Woody hit the post and another attempt by the Lady Flame midfielder went just over the crossbar.
Liberty did not allow any UNC Asheville shots over the final 12:30, sealing the 3-1 victory.
The Lady Flames outshot the Bulldogs, 16-7, in the contest, and also held a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.
Nyholt recorded four saves in the Liberty net in her first start of the year. Lazar recorded eight saves on the night for UNC Asheville.
Liberty travels to Radford on Wednesday for a Big South match with the Highlanders. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.