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Big South Champion Liberty Ties Presbyterian

November 1, 2009
|  Clinton, S.C.
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Lady Flame Elia Lake

Lady Flame Elia Lake

The Lady Flames tied Presbyterian, 0-0, in the final regular game of the year, wrapping up the season as the 2009 Big South regular season champions.

Despite the Blue Hose controlling the first five minutes of play, Maria Owen recorded the first shot of the contest at 6:03, but it missed wide on the left side.

Host Presbyterian nabbed their first shot of the game in the 17th minute, when Kate Baker charged down the field, but her attempt from the left side was saved by Liberty keeper Ashley Nyholt.

Heather Bentley lofted a long pass downfield to Silvia Betancourt at 22:06, but Betancourt's shot missed over the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless.

Presbyterian got a penalty kick opportunity when a handball was called in the 18-yard box in the 29th, but Nyholt made a diving stop of the ensuing attempt by Rachel Lamb preventing the Blue Hose from taking a lead.

After a corner kick by Short at 34:15, Ariana Espinoza's shot was blocked, and a shot by Bentley in the 38th minute was wide, as the game went to halftime scoreless.

Liberty opened the second half on the attack. Short took the first shot of the second half in the 49th minute which sailed over the goal. Owen followed up less than a minute later, but her attempt missed wide on the right side.

Kristi McBrien added to Liberty's shot count in the 69th minute, but also missed over the crossbar.

The Blue Hose nearly scored in the 80th minute on a corner kick, but Nyholt punched Britney Horton's shot over the goal and out of harm's way for the save.

Presbyterian had another chance in the 85th, but Stephanie Aaron's kick rolled wide past the right post.

Neither team was able to make a last-minute charge, as regulation ended without a score.

In the first overtime, the Lady Flames nearly ended the contest. In the 95th minute, Espinoza headed a corner kick by Short, which barely floated high over the crossbar.

Halfway through the second overtime, Liberty once again threatened to end the contest when Betancourt had an opportunity in the 104th minute, but her shot bounced off the post and rebounded out. Owen immediately followed with an attempt of the rebound, but her shot went wide.

McBrien's shot in the 105th minute was saved by Presbyterian keeper Abby Young, as was Owen's close-range shot in the 106th minute.

Both teams pressed in the final minutes looking for the game-winner, but neither capitalized on an opportunity, and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Nyholt made five saves in goal for the Lady Flames, while Young and Sara Beth Anderson split the goalkeeping duties for Presbyterian, combining for six saves.

Liberty outshot Presbyterian, 24-14, while the Blue Hose held the advantage in corner kicks, 5-3.

The Blue Hose (3-12-2, 0-7-2 Big South) are not eligible for the Big South tournament.

The Lady Flames (9-7-2, 6-1-2 Big South) wrap up the regular season as the Big South champions for the third time in program history, and the first time since 2003, when Liberty shared the title with Coastal Carolina.

Despite today's loss, the Lady Flames have won six Big South contests in a season for the first time in program history.

The 2009 Big South Women's Soccer Championships will begin Thursday in Charleston, S.C., with Liberty's opponent and match time to be determined.