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Liberty Advances to Semifinals, 1-0

November 13, 2009
|  Boiling Springs, N.C.
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Alex Verville netted the game-winner, Friday.

Alex Verville netted the game-winner, Friday.

A first half goal by Alex Verville proved to be the difference as the No. 3 seed Liberty Flames defeated the No. 6 seed UNC Asheville Bulldogs, 1-0, in a tightly contested, defensive third game of the 2009 Big South Men's Soccer Championship, Friday at Gardner-Webb's Greene-Harbison Field.

With the victory, Liberty advances to tomorrow's semifinals, where it will play the winner of No. 2 seed High Point and No. 7 seed Radford Highlanders. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Flames, 11-4-3 on the year, will be making their fourth consecutive appearance in the semifinals. UNC Asheville finishes its season at 6-12-2.

The match was a defensive struggle for most of the first 20 minutes. Liberty scored the only goal of the contest in the 17th minute. Sophomore forward Timothy Bullock (So., Forest, Va.) sent a crossing pass to Verville on the right side of the 18-yard box. The sophomore put it past UNC Asheville keeper Lassi Huskainen for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 advantage.

In the 29th minute, UNC Asheville attempted to knot the match. Midfielder David Wood intercepted a Liberty pass and pushed a pass toward the Flames' net. Liberty goalkeeper Andrew Madero (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) came 30 yards off the goal line, blocking the initial attack. Wood scrambled to the rebound and sent a shot from his knees wide past the net.

The second half continued to be a defensive struggle, as neither team was able to find the back of the net in the last 45 minutes. The shutout was Liberty's 11th blanking of an opponent this season.

Liberty outshot UNC Asheville, 15-6, in the contest. The Flames also held a 9-2 edge in corner kicks. Madero recorded two saves for the Flames. Hurskainen stopped three shots for the Bulldogs.

The Flames will be making their 13th appearance in the Big South Tournament semifinals.