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Second-Half Goals Power Liberty Past Radford
Remaining unbeaten in conference play, Liberty moves to 5-0-1 in the Big South and 8-6-1 overall. With the win, the Lady Flames run their unbeaten streak to eight-consecutive games (7-0-1), the longest in program history. The mark surpasses the 2005 Liberty squad, which had a seven-game unbeaten streak (7-0). Radford drops to 5-2 in conference action and 8-8 overall.
Keying the streak is six-straight shutouts for the Lady Flames, as head coach Jessica Hain's squad has not allowed a goal since a 1-1 tie with Charleston Southern on Oct. 3. Liberty has allowed only one goal in its last 809:05 of play.
The Lady Flames opened the contest on the attack. Home-standing Liberty fired seven shots toward the Highlander goal over the first 20 minutes of play. During the shooting burst, a shot by Owen in the 13th minute and one by midfielder Madison Short, forced diving saves by Radford's Lisa Lubke.
Radford got its first shot of the game in the 21st minute. Forward Latrice Lee got past a defender and moved into the box for a shot from close range. Liberty goalkeeper Karen Blocker came out of her net, blocked down the attempt and corralled the rebound to prevent the Highlanders from gaining an advantage.
In the 30th minute, Lady Flame Luurtsema took a pass from the right side of the box at the far post and ripped a shot, which Lubke was able to get a hand on and possess to keep Liberty off the scoreboard.
The half ended with Lady Flame goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt making her first save of the game, after coming on for Blocker in the 22nd minute due to injury. The stop came on shot by defender Jackie Cozza off a corner kick in the 44th minute.
Liberty forward Silvia Betancourt opened the second half, by beating a defender and pushing a shot inside the 18-yard box towards the near post. However, the attempt went just wide of the goal, keeping the contest scoreless.
The Lady Flames took a 1-0 advantage in the 65th minute. Owen sent a pass into the left side of the penalty area for Short, who dropped the ball onto the foot of an on-rushing Luurtsema. The forward finished into the open left side of the net for her third goal of the year and Liberty lead.
A 1:45 later, Owen extended the Lady Flame edge to 2-0. Picking up a loose ball on the left side of the field, the forward dribbled past a defender and around Lubke for a shot. Owen blasted the ball into the net for her fourth goal of the year at 67:35.
The Liberty defense then took over weathering a series of three-straight corner kicks by Radford between the 80th and 81st minutes.
Despite a pressing Highlanders side, the Lady Flames did not allow a shot over the final 10 minutes of the contest to secure their seventh shutout of the season.
Liberty outshot Radford, 16-10, in the contest and held a 10-9 edge in corner kicks.
Nyholt made four saves in over 67 minutes for the Lady Flames, while Blocker had one save. Lubke recorded seven saves for the Highlanders. Radford also had a team save.
Liberty returns to action tomorrow night, when it hosts the VMI Keydets in a Big South Conference contest at Osborne Stadium. The match will be the last home game of the season for the Lady Flames. Before the match, the three seniors on the Liberty roster, who will be playing in their final home contest, will be honored. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Radford travels to High Point, tomorrow, for a Big South Contest with the Panthers. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.