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Liberty Reclaims LuLu Cup with 3-0 Blanking

April 8, 2009
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Lady Flames shut out local rival Longwood, 3-0, Tuesday evening, to win the 2009 LuLu Cup.

The Lady Flames shut out local rival Longwood, 3-0, Tuesday evening, to win the 2009 LuLu Cup.

The Liberty Lady Flames women's soccer team recaptured the "Lulu Cup" on Tuesday with a 3-0 victory over local rival Longwood at Liberty Soccer Field. Maria Owen tallied Liberty's first two goals, and the Lady Flame defensive unit stifled the Longwood attack all evening.

The game was a back-and-forth affair in which each team had a number of quality scoring chances. The first goal arrived midway through the first half, courtesy of quick thinking from rising sophomore forward Silvia Betancourt. Having just earned the Flames a throw-in deep in the Longwood half of the field, Betancourt alertly made the throw-in to classmate Jordan Woody. Woody beat a Lancer defender and slid a picture-perfect cross to the top of the 18-yard box, where rising junior Owen calmly cut the ball back and finished it low and hard to the near post.

The rest of the first half was characterized by good play by both teams, including several fantastic saves by the teams' respective goalkeepers. Longwood's Alecia McConnell denied Owen a second goal with a spectacular one-handed save, tipping a volley to the top corner over the crossbar. Liberty's Karen Blocker pulled out a spectacular save of her own a few minutes later, denying Longwood its first goal by leaping high to the corner to tip a shot away.

Despite repeated sequences of attacking play from both teams, the 1-0 score line held through the second half until Owen broke away from the Longwood defense with 10 minutes remaining in the stanza. She dribbled up the end line and slid a shot just inside the near post for a 2-0 Liberty advantage.

Longwood's deficit was nearly halved just a minute later when Liberty goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt was forced into a diving stop on a Longwood shot from distance. Five minutes later, sophomore Alyssa Andersen scored her first goal of the spring, when she got on the end of a cross from Betancourt and slid the ball home at the back post.

The "LuLu Cup" is a friendly cup competition between Liberty and Longwood. Each spring, the women's soccer teams compete in a home and away series of games to determine the current holders of the Cup. The winner is determined by a combined aggregate score from the two matches. Longwood defeated Liberty, 2-1, March 28 at Longwood. However, with Tuesday night's home victory, the Lady Flames claimed the cup for 2009.

Liberty will complete its spring season with one final home match on April 18 against fellow Big South foe VMI. Game time will be at 3 p.m., at Liberty Soccer Field.