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No. 4 Virginia Edges Liberty, 2-1
The host Cavaliers were able to convert a penalty shot in the 80th minute, breaking a 1-1 tie, sending No. 4 Virginia to a 2-1 victory over the Liberty Flames, Tuesday night at Klockner Stadium.
The non-conference setback ends a three-game win streak and drops Liberty to 6-3-1 on the year. Virginia moves to 7-2-1 on the season. The win runs the Cavaliers non-conference unbeaten streak to 18 games.
The host Cavaliers struck early. After forcing a save by Liberty goalkeeper Paul Gilbert in the fourth minute, Virginia netted the first goal of the contest in the fifth minute. Off a corner kick, midfielder Ari Dimas found Brian Owenby in the 18-yard box for a shot, which the forward tucked into the right side of the net for his third goal of the year and a 1-0 Cavalier advantage.
Liberty tried to counter with its first shot of the contest off a corner kick of its own in the 13th minute. Juan Niño lofted a kick to the far right side of the penalty area for midfielder Phillip Aseweh, who lined a shot high over the goal.
In the 26th minute, Flames leading scorer Darren Amoo came free on the left side of the 18-yard, moving past a defender. However, the forward's shot was stopped was plucked out of midair by Virginia goalkeeper Diego Restepo.
The Cavaliers put pressure on the Liberty net, organizing for an attack which led to back-to-back corner kicks in the 35th minute. The second corner kick resulted in two more shots by the host team, but both attempts were blocked down by Liberty defenders.
In the half, Virginia outshot Liberty, 9-3, and held a 5-1 edge in corners.
The Flames opened the second half with a corner kick in the 46th minute. The attempt was well defended by Virginia, as Liberty came away without a shot attempt.
After a Liberty shot by defender Chris Osborne in transition went wide in the 53rd minute, the Cavaliers responded with a shot from defender Sean Hiller, which was blocked down in front by a Flames defender.
Liberty knotted the contest in the 53rd minute. Amoo picked up a clear attempt by a Virginia defender near midfield and sent a pass to a free Alex Verville for a breakaway scoring opportunity. Finding himself one-on-one with the Cavalier goalkeeper Restepo, the midfielder ripped a low shot into the open, far right corner of the goal. Verville's second marker of the year tied the score at 1-1.
Play between the two teams settled between the boxes over the next 18 minutes without either squad getting a shot opportunity until a Liberty foul resulted in a free kick from 40 yards out for Virginia in the 70th minute. The kick by Ownby went to the far right side of the 18-yard box, but the Flames were able to get it into the hands of keeper Gilbert to end the opportunity.
On the ensuing attack, Liberty was able to create a shot for midfielder Thad Taylor in the 72nd minute. However, the shot sailed high.
A hand ball in the 18-yard box in the 81st minute resulted in a penalty kick for Virginia. Dimas took the shot, scoring his second goal of the season and giving the Cavaliers a 2-1 edge.
Liberty looked for the equalizer in the 82nd minute, after a foul resulted in a free kick from the top of the box. On the ensuing kick, Niño sent a pass to the left post for midfielder Chris Phillips. The midfielder was able to head the ball towards the net, but Restepo was in position to corral the shot to keep the Flames from tying the contest.
In the 86th minute, Osborne came free at the far post. His header was deflected out of harm's way for a corner kick, which Virginia cleared to seal the victory.
For the contest, the Cavaliers outshot the Flames, 17-9, and held a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Gilbert made two saves in the Liberty goal, while Restrepo recorded three saves for Virginia.
Liberty returns home Saturday for a Big South match with the High Point Panthers. Game time at Osborne Stadium is scheduled for Noon.