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Liberty Rebounds against Southern Virginia
Coming off a challenging weekend, the Liberty women's soccer team returned to form Wednesday afternoon at Osborne Stadium, shutting out Southern Virginia, 6-0.
Junior Aimee Luurtsema led the way for Liberty's offense, recording two goals, two assists and a career-high six points. The contest was the second multi-goal and multi-assist game of her career. With the win, the Lady Flames improve to 2-4-2 on the season, while the Knights fall to 1-4.
Senior forward Maria Owen kick-started the Liberty offense in the 11th minute, dicing through the defense and planting a shot from six yards out to give the Lady Flames the 1-0 edge. Owen's tally was the 15th of her career, tying her with Leanne Faulk for fifth all-time on Liberty's goal scoring list. The marker also gave
Owen a total of 38 career points, good for fifth place on Liberty's all-time career points listing.
Just over a minute after the forward's marquee goal, sophomore Ariana Espinoza netted her first career tally, heading it into the net off a Madison Short corner kick to make it 2-0.
The Lady Flames tacked on another goal in the 20th minute to take a 3-0 lead. Freshman Megan Warner made a pass to Luurtsema, who crossed it to Silvia Betancourt for the close range finish. The Betancourt-Luurtsema connection resurfaced two minutes later, this time in reverse. Betancourt lobbed it over the defense and to her teammate, who placed it in the left corner, which gave way to a 4-0 Liberty advantage at halftime.
Luurtsema continued her career night in the second stanza, blasting a put back immediately following a shot attempt from Owen. The Grandville, Mich., native's second tally of the contest gave Liberty a 5-0 lead in the 57th minute. Madison Short concluded the scoring on the afternoon for Liberty in the 61st minute, netting her first goal of the season. Following a cross from Luurtsema, the midfielder tapped it in to finish the play, ultimately leading to the 6-0 final.
Liberty goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt guarded the net in the opening half for the Lady Flames, with freshman Alexa Hormann taking over for the entire second period. Southern Virginia's Briar Sands remained in the net in the first period for the Knights, making three saves. Mariah Flake came in for Sands in the second half, finishing with five saves.
Liberty remains at Osborne Stadium Friday night, playing host to Howard at 7 p.m. The matchup marks the first meeting between the two squads since Oct. 24, 2005, when the Lady Flames edged the Bison in Washington D.C., 2-1. Liberty currently holds a 5-1 lead in the all-time series.