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Flames Fall on Late Tally
The defeat halts a three-game winning streak for Liberty, as the Flames drop to 3-2-2 in Big South play and 9-4-3 overall. High Point moves to 5-1-2 in conference play and 9-5-2 overall.
Liberty opened the match with the first shot of the contest. Defender Chris Mandell (R-Sr., Bowling Green, Va.) got off an attempt from close range in the 5th minute, which was knocked down by High Point goalkeeper Michael Chesler. The rebound got away from the Panther netminder, but the Flames were whistled offside, negating any further opportunities.
High Point was turned away by Liberty goalkeeper Andrew Madero (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) on its first shot of the night in the 17th minute. Off a free kick from 20 yards out, midfielder Matt Tuttle launched a rising shot towards the Flames' net, which Madero batted out of play.
Later in the 17th minute, Liberty received a free kick after a foul from 25 yards out. Juan Ni?o (So., Katy, Texas) lifted a shot too wide, just left of the post, keeping the contest scoreless.
The host Panthers closed the half with a corner kick in the waning seconds. However, Will Stewart headed the ball over the goal, sending the game to intermission without a score.
High Point took a 1-0 lead during the opening minutes of the second half. Scott Rojo sent a crossing pass through the 18-yard box to the left wing, where Tuttle tucked a shot into the right side of the net for his fourth goal of the season and a High Point advantage at 54:49.
Liberty knotted the contest in the 83rd minute. Midfielder Chris Phillips (R-So., Brownsville, Ind.) picked up a loose ball at the top of the box, made a move around a defender and scored his third goal of the season.
The deadlock did not last long, as the Panthers found the game-winner three minutes later. Karo Okiomah ran down a loose ball around the top of the 18-yard box and put a shot into the right side of the net for the final score of 2-1 at 86:35.
Liberty pressed the High Point net during the final minutes, but could not find the equalizer.
The Flames outshot the Panthers, 11-7, while High Point held an 8-6 edge in corner kicks.
Madero recorded one save in the contest for Liberty, while Cressler made two saves for High Point.
Liberty concludes its 2009 regular season Saturday afternoon. The Flames will travel to Asheville, N.C., for a Big South match with the UNC Asheville Bulldogs. Match time is scheduled for 2 p.m.