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Liberty Falls at Radford, 3-1

October 15, 2008
|  Radford, Va.
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Maria Owen scored her second goal of the season Wednesday.

Maria Owen scored her second goal of the season Wednesday.

The Radford Highlanders built a 3-0 lead and then held off a furious second-half rally by Liberty to defeat the Lady Flames, 3-1, Wednesday evening in Big South women's soccer action at Patrick D. Cupp Memorial Stadium.

Liberty falls to 1-5 in the Big South and 1-11-1 overall. Radford improves to 2-1-1 in the conference and 8-1-3 overall.

The Lady Flames came close to taking an early lead during the opening minutes of the contest. On a corner kick in the fifth minute of play, a header by Heather Bowling (Jr., D, Waxhaw, N.C.) hit the outside of post and bounded out of harm's way.

In the 28th minute, a Radford defender had to clear a shot by Maria Owen (So., F, Mount Jackson, Va.) off the goal line with the Highlander goalkeeper out of position on a corner kick to keep the Lady Flames scoreless.

McKenzie Vergara put Radford on the scoreboard in the 31st minute. After Liberty keeper Ashley Nyholt (So., Brampton, Ont.) made a diving save on a shot by Jill Boyer, Vergara was open in front and tucked home the rebound for her fifth goal of the year. The marker gave the Highlanders a 1-0 lead at intermission.

Radford scored 8:50 into the second half to take a 2-0 lead. Caitlyn Roan headed in a corner kick by Justine Dugger for her first goal of the season and a two-goal Radford advantage.

The Highlanders held off a furious Lady Flame flurry in the 69th minute. Over a span of 10 seconds, Liberty had three excellent scoring opportunities. The first two shots of the sequence by Owen and Rachel Michener (So., MF, Pottstown, Pa.) were saved by defenders, while Radford netminder Lisa Lubke turned back the final shot by Owen.

After Radford staved off a few more chances, Melony Davis gave the Highlanders a three-goal cushion in the 77th minute. Kathleen Jarvis played the ball to a streaking Ashley Johnson down the right wing. She sent a crossing pass to Davis, who touched it into the net for her fourth goal of the season.

Owen, who led all players with six shots in the contest, found the back of the net for the Lady Flames at 79:18. The forward dribbled through the Radford defense and ripped a shot into the top of the goal from just outside the 18-yard box for her second goal of the season, cutting the Liberty deficit to 3-1.

The Lady Flames attempted to close the gap to one in the 87th minute. However, a header by Silvia Betancourt (Fr., F, San Jose, Costa Rico) off a corner kick was stopped by Highlander keeper Lubke.
Later in the 89th minute, Lubke also turned away a header by Liberty's Amy Oberlin (Sr., F, Ada, Mich.), as Radford defeated the Lady Flames for the first time since 2000.

Liberty held the advantage in shots, 16-12, and in corner kicks, 9-3.

Nyholt had had four saves in the contest for Liberty. Radford's Lubke finished with four saves, all in the second half.

Liberty returns home on Saturday for a Big South meeting with Presbyterian. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.