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No. 8 Winthrop Upsets No. 1 Liberty
The tie brings to the end Liberty's successful season, as the Lady Flames were the 2009 Big South regular season champions.
In a surprising move, the Lady Eagles replaced starting goalkeeper Kelsy Weavil with backup Sarah Schippers for the penalty kicks. Schippers made the game-winning save on a penalty kick from Jordan Woody, the ninth Lady Flame to shoot.
The last time the Lady Flames was forced to penalty kicks was the 2006 Big South Championship title match versus UNC Asheville. The Bulldogs won, 4-2.
The game against the Lady Eagles played out in a similar fashion to the regular season matchup between the two teams, when Liberty edged Winthrop, 1-0, in the second overtime.
Winthrop made a run first, taking two shots in the first five minutes. The first attempt by Allie Vandewater at 3:43 was blocked by the Liberty defense, and her second shot missed wide on the right side at 3:47.
Elia Lake took Liberty's first shot of the contest on a free kick in the seventh minute, but it missed wide left. Lady Flame goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt made a save in the ninth minute, stopping Vandewater's third attempt.
Aimee Luurtsema's header attempt was stopped by Winthrop keeper Kelsy Weavil at 13:33, then Silvia Betancourt sent a header toward the goal on a pass from Maria Owen at 14:25 that sailed over the goal.
Winthrop nearly took a lead in the 27th minute when Lia Gordon had a wide-open shot, but her attempt bounced off the crossbar and the game remained scoreless.
Madison Short took two shots for Liberty in less than a minute, at 29:46 and 30:41. Her first attempt, a free kick, was saved by Weavil, and her second shot missed high.
The two squads traded possession for the remainder of the first half, with no scoring opportunities being capitalized upon.
Short made the first attempt of the second half in the 49th minute, but it was blocked by the Lady Eagle defense. Lake took a long shot at 52:51, but it was stopped by Weavil.
Liberty had another scoring opportunity in the 58th minute, when Short sent a pass to Luurtsema in the box, but her header floated over the goal.
The Lady Eagles followed suit, taking two consecutive shots in the 59th minute. Ariel Kunde's close-range shot was saved by Nyholt, and Kylie Long's attempt missed high. After the early scoring opportunities, neither team mounted much offense as the game went to overtime.
After scoreless overtime periods, the contest moved to penalty kicks to determine the team to advance.
Betancourt, Heather Bentley, Rachel Wisehart and Karen Blocker made their penalty kicks for Liberty, before Schippers made the game-winning stop against Woody to end the game, 5-4.
In regulation, Short led all players with six shots, while Luurtsema took three shots and Lake, Owen and Betancourt each made two attempts. Nyholt made five saves in regulation for the Lady Flames.
Vandewater led the Lady Eagles with five shots, while Weavil recorded four saves in regulation.
Overall, Winthrop outshot Liberty, 19-15.
Liberty held the advantage in corner kicks, 4-3.
The Lady Flames end the season with an overall record of 9-7-3, and a conference record of 6-1-2.
The Lady Eagles (5-10-4, 2-5-2 Big South) move on to the semi-finals, where they will face No. 5 VMI on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The Keydets upset No. 4 Coastal Carolina in penalty kicks earlier today.