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Lady Buccaneers Edge Liberty with Late Goal
The clash of preseason conference favorites lived up to the billing Saturday afternoon, as Liberty kicked off the Big South season at Charleston Southern. Unfortunately for the Lady Flames, the result did not go their way. Despite a two-goal Liberty lead in the first period, the Lady Buccaneers, led by Marky Boyce, responded with three unanswered goals to take the contest at Buccaneer Field, 3-2.
With the defeat, Liberty falls to 3-6-2 (0-1-0 Big South), while Charleston Southern improves to 7-4 (1-0-0 Big South) on the season.
Forward Silvia Betancourt led the Liberty offense with two goals, while Charleston Southern and Big South leading scorer Boyce also finished with a pair of tallies for the Lady Buccaneers.
Liberty lit up the scoreboard first in the eighth minute to take the early lead. After a ball was misplayed by the Charleston Southern defense, forward Maria Owen took advantage of the error, passing it to Betancourt for the finish.
Just over five minutes later, Betancourt struck again after receiving a pass from midfielder Madison Short, giving Liberty a 2-0 advantage over the hosting Lady Buccaneers in the 13th minute. Betancourt's marker was the 18th of her career, placing her at fifth on Liberty's all-time points list with 42.
Liberty maintained its two-tally lead until the 39th minute, when Boyce netted a goal to slice the Lady Buccaneers' deficit in half, leading to a 2-1 Lady Flames lead at the close of the period.
In the second stanza, Charleston Southern knotted the contest in a matter of minutes, as Toni Lashley dribbled past a Liberty defender and fired a hard low shot to make it 2-2 in the 53rd minute.
For the second straight contest, Boyce provided Charleston Southern with a tie-breaking goal. In the 66th minute, the forward capitalized on a misplay in the Liberty back field and finished the play for her 13th goal on the year, giving the Lady Buccaneers the 3-2 decision.
Ashley Nyholt played the entire 90 minutes in goal for Liberty, recording six saves. Amy Arroyo remained in goal for Charleston Southern for the duration of the contest, picking up five saves.
Liberty heads to Conway, S.C., for a Monday meeting with Coastal Carolina. Game time at CCU Soccer Field is slated for 4 p.m.