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Big First Half Propels Lady Flames Past Bison
The Liberty women's soccer team picked up its second-straight victory Friday night at Osborne Stadium, scoring all of its goals in the opening period to defeat Howard, 5-0.
Liberty's first half goal total marked the first time the Lady Flames scored five goals in the opening period since Oct. 16, 2007, when Liberty netted five in the first half in a 9-0 win against Southern Virginia.
Forward Aimee Luurtsema led the way for the Liberty offense, scoring a career-high three goals in the contest. Fellow forward Silvia Betancourt also finished with a solid night, netting a pair of markers and assisting on another.
With the win, Liberty improves 3-4-2 on the season, while Howard falls to 2-4-0.
Liberty lit up the scoreboard in the ninth minute on its fifth shot attempt. After pressuring the net through the early minutes of the contest, Betancourt sent a crossing pass to Luurtsema, who sent it into an open net from six yards out, giving the Lady Flames a 1-0 lead. Less than 10 minutes later, Betancourt found the net herself, dribbling through the Bison defense and belting a 25-yard blast into the top of the net to make it, 2-0, for the home team.
Howard's best chance of the night came in the 27th minute. Bison forward Owyn Manson jumped on a loose ball off the left side of the 18-yard box and sent a crossing shot into the middle of the box. However, no Howard player was there to receive it and the Lady Flames quickly cleared the attempt.
In the 28th minute, Luurtsema scored her second the goal of the game off a penalty kick, following a foul inside the box. The Grandville, Mich., native bent the attempt, air mailing it into the lower left corner for a 3-0 advantage.
Betancourt tacked on another Lady Flames tally just before the start of the 32nd minute. This time the Costa Rican had help from senior midfielder Maggie Woody, who crossed the ball to her teammate from the left side of the field. Betancourt finished the play from close range, tallying her fifth goal of the year and increasing the lead to 4-0.
Luurtsema capped off Liberty's scoring in the 36th minute to complete a hat trick and score eighth marker of the season. Woody once again contributed on the play, sending a crossing pass to the Lady Flames' leading scorer. Luurtsema fired the shot directly into the net, leading to the 5-0 final.
Howard's Cheyra Bell remained in goal for the duration of the contest, making five saves. Liberty's Ashley Nyholt played the first 60:47 in front of the Lady Flames net, recording one save. Alexa Hormann stepped in for Nyholt in the remaining minutes, finishing with a save.
Liberty will head east to Farmville, Va., to take on Longwood next Friday. Game time at Longwood's Athletics Complex is slated for 7 p.m.