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UNC Asheville - Liberty Play to 0-0 Draw

November 8, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty goalkeeper Andrew Madero recorded his third shutout Saturday.

Liberty goalkeeper Andrew Madero recorded his third shutout Saturday.

Strong defensive play by both the Liberty Flames and the UNC Asheville Bulldogs allowed few scoring opportunities Saturday afternoon at Liberty Soccer Field, as the two teams battled to a 0-0, two-overtime tie in the final regular-season men's soccer game for both Big South Conference squads.

Liberty, which is unbeaten in its last six contests (4-0-2), moves to 4-3-1 in league play and 9-5-2 overall. UNC Asheville goes to 3-3-2 in the Big South and 6-7-4 overall. With the conclusion of conference play today, seeding for the upcoming Big South Championship, which begins on Thursday in Conway, S.C., will be announced later today.

The first 12 minutes of the contest were confined to the midfield with neither team being able to attempt a shot. UNC Asheville midfielder J.W. Gallagher was able to find some open space for the game's first shot in the 12th minute, but it was easily turned away by Liberty goalkeeper Andrew Madero (So, Tampa, Fla.).

The Flames' first shot came in the 16th minute, as Karol Chorak (Fr., MF, Saint Louis, Mo.) ripped a shot wide of the far post on an attempt from just outside the left corner of the 18-yard box.

Shots were at a premium throughout the game, as neither team was able to mount much pressure on either netminder.

In the 43rd minute, Madero made another save on a shot by Bulldog Colton Paschall. Less than a minute later, UNC Asheville keeper Lassi Hurskainen made a stop of a Juan Nino (Fr., MF, Katy, Texas) shot to send the contest to halftime with no score.

Liberty had six shots in the first half, while UNC Asheville managed two attempts.

Defense was again in the forefront during the second half. The Bulldogs opened the period with two shots off the foot of forward Scott Szymanski in the 52nd minute. The forward's first shot sailed high, while about a minute later, his second attempt was corralled by Madero for a save.

Over the next 18 minutes, play settled in the midfield between the two 18-yard boxes, with neither team being able to get a shot off.

Liberty would get its best opportunity of the half in the 81st minute, when Cameron Chastain (Sr., M, Millersville, Md.) came free for a shot. However, Hurskainen was able to knock it out of bounds, preventing a score.

In the waning moments of regulation, a shot by Liberty's Chris Phillips (So., MF, Brownsburg, Ind.) sailed wide, sending the contest to overtime.

The first 10 minutes saw only one shot by either team, as once again play was mainly in the midfield. During the 93rd minute, the Flames were able to spring forward Joshua Boateng (Sr., Accra, Ghana) open for a shot, but his attempt went wide.

In the second overtime, Liberty pressured the Bulldog net in the 102nd minute. A shot by midfielder Juan Guzman (Jr., Charlotte, N.C.) was blocked in the penalty area by a UNC Asheville defender. The attempt bounded out to Alex Verville (Fr., MF, Rochester Hills, Mich.), who blasted a shot, which Hurskainen was able to get a hand on and punch over the crossbar to stop a potential Liberty score.

Despite several corner kicks for the Flames over the last three minutes, neither team was able to find the game-winner.

Liberty held a 13-5 edge in shots over UNC Asheville in the contest and also had an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Madero made four saves on the afternoon for the Flames, while Hurskainen recorded three for the Bulldogs.

Both teams now wait for the results of today's final regular-season contests to find out their seedings and match-ups for the first round of the Big South Championship, which begins Thursday at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.