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Flames Edged in Big South Conference Opener
The Radford Highlanders used the game's lone goal to down the Liberty Flames, 1-0, Saturday night in a Big South Conference men's soccer match at Patrick D. Cupp Memorial Stadium. The contest was the first conference match of the year for both teams.
Liberty falls to 0-1 in Big South action and 3-2-1 overall. Radford moves to 1-0 in conference play and 2-2-1 overall.
During the first 15 minutes of play, neither team was able to create a shot opportunity. The first shot of the game came off the foot of Liberty forward Darren Amoo in the 30th minute. The forward settled a feed 25 yards out right in the middle of the field and ripped a shot, which Highlander goalkeeper Ryan Taylor dove to tip the ball wide of the net.
After a corner kick in the 22nd minute, the Flames blocked two clearing attempts by the home team to get a scoring opportunity. The second clearing attempt, made under pressure from several Liberty attackers, was knocked out of the air by defender Uriah Bentick and settled for a shot from 25 yards. However, the shot sailed high, keeping the game scoreless.
Radford got its first shot of the contest in the 24th minute off a corner kick. A header off the kick of midfielder Mike Handlin was headed wide and out by forward Carter Mills.
In the 35th minute, Flames goalkeeper Paul Gilbert made his first save of the contest. Highlander midfielder Anthony Payne worked open for a shot from the right top corner of the box, which the redshirt junior saw and easily corralled.
Two minutes later, Radford forward Iyiola Awosika broke free on the right side of the field and moved to the top of the box to fire a shot. However, Gilbert was again up to the task, knocking down and controlling the attempt.
Liberty's Kyle Breitmeyer, who came in the 33rd minute, came free for a shot from the left side from inside the goal box. Taylor came out was able to deflect the shot wide.
The Flames held a 7-6 edge in shots and a 6-3 advantage corner kick advantage during the opening half.
Liberty was able to take the first shot of the second half, four minutes into the period. Amoo fired a shot on net, which Taylor caught.
Radford countered with two shots in the 50th minute. A shot by Handlin got Gilbert into the action early in the half, recording a stop. Moments later, midfielder Bernado Ulmo came free on the left side of the field for a shot. However, Gilbert moved forward, forcing an attempt at a tight angle and Ulmo's shot went wide.
The Highlanders took a 1-0 advantage at 64:15. On a free kick after a Flames foul, Awosika picked up a loose ball off a defender and tipped it into the open left corner of the net for his first goal of the year and a Radford lead.
Liberty attempted to find the equalizer over the final 15 minutes of play, but the Radford defense limited scoring opportunities.
In the 86th minute, the Flames got a corner kick. However, the Highlanders cleared the kick. Later as time was running out, midfielder Juan Niño lifted a shot from 30 yards out, which went high.
Shots were even at 12-12 in the contest. Liberty held the edge in corner kicks, 7-4.
Gilbert recorded five saves in the Flames net, while Taylor collected four.
Liberty travels to our nation's capital for a non-conference match against Howard on Tuesday. Match time is 7 p.m.