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Liberty Set for Homecoming Meeting Versus Winthrop
Looking for its first win in Big South conference play this season, the Liberty women's soccer team (3-7-2) plays host to the Winthrop Eagles on Saturday. Game time at Osborne Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
The contest is part of Liberty's homecoming weekend and marks the first meeting between the two teams since the Big South Championship quarterfinals on Nov. 5, 2009, when No. 8 Winthrop advanced 5-4 on penalty kicks over the first seeded Lady Flames.
Following Liberty's homecoming game with the Eagles, the Lady Flames host the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs at Osborne Stadium on Monday. Game time is slated for 4 p.m.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats, presented by GameTracker, will be available on LibertyFlames.com, by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results page.
Liberty/Winthrop Series Notes
Liberty enters Saturday's contest with a 2-5-2 record all-time against Winthrop. The two teams met twice last year, with both contests going down to the wire.
In the regular season meeting on Oct. 9, 2009 at Rock Hill, S.C., the contest went into double overtime after neither team managed to find net the first 100 minutes of play. With 80 ticks left in the second overtime, late goal heroics by Maria Owen propelled the Lady Flames over the Eagles, sending Liberty home with a victory. Madison Short recorded her first career assist with the pass to Owen, while Karen Blocker finished with a season-high 11 saves.
Solid defense was once again the theme during the Big South Championship quarterfinals on Nov. 5, with the game ending in a scoreless tie after 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, which forced a penalty kick shootout. Winthrop, seeded eighth in the tournament, squeaked past No. 1 Liberty, outpointing the Lady Flames, 5-4 in penalty kicks. Winthrop went on to meet High Point in the finals of the Big South Championship on Nov. 8. The Panthers captured the 2009 Big South Championship on penalty kicks, 4-2.
Scouting the Eagles
The Eagles enter this weekend's contest with a 1-7-1 record after picking up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Gardner-Webb last Saturday. Midfielder Rachel Webster and forward Courtney Durbin each scored their first goals of the season for Winthrop. With the Eagles holding a two-goal advantage, Gardner-Webb's Melissa Battista cut the deficit in half in the 51st minute. However, Battista's goal was not enough, as Winthrop held off the Runnin' Bulldogs for the 2-1 decision.
Liberty/Gardner-Webb Series Notes
Liberty currently holds a 2-1-1 record in the all-time series with Gardner-Webb. In their last meeting on Oct. 11, 2009, Aimee Luurtsema netted the first goal of her career, leading Liberty past the Runnin' Bulldogs, 1-0 in Boiling Springs, N.C. The win was part of an eventual eight game unbeaten streak, helping Liberty become the 2009 Big South regular-season champion.
Scouting the Runnin' Bulldogs
Gardner-Webb is currently 3-6-2 on the season, with wins over Jacksonville State, USC Upstate and Chattanooga. Prior to their clash with the Lady Flames, the Runnin' Bulldogs are slated for a road contest against defending Big South Champion High Point, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Through 11 contests, Gardner-Webb goalkeeper Chelsea Hearne is second in the conference in shutouts with five and second in goals against average (0.87).
Luurtsema Center Dedication
Prior to the start of Liberty's contest against the Eagles, Liberty Athletics will dedicate its new soccer and track operations facility, the Luurtsema Center.
The Luurtsema Center serves as an operations building for men's and women's soccer and both track and field programs. The 5,000 square foot building on the south end of the Osborne Stadium complex was made possible by a leadership gift from Bill and Wanda Luurtsema of Grandville, Mich.
Climbing the Ladder
Forward Silvia Betancourt finished with two goals in Liberty's game against Charleston Southern last Saturday, making her fifth all-time on Liberty's career points list with 42 points. Betancourt needs one more point to tie Amy Ingalls (1989-92) for fourth on the list. The forward's pair of goals on Saturday also gives her 18 for her career, making her one shy of tying Ingalls for fourth on Liberty's career goals list, as well. Betancourt is also second on the team this season in goals (7) and points (16).
Liberty in the Big South
Liberty currently holds a 46-66-8 record all-time in the Big South, capturing the conference championship on three occasions: 2000, 2001 and 2005. Last season, the Lady Flames posted a 6-1-2 record in conference play en route to a regular-season title.
Where do they Rank?
The Lady Flames sit at third in the Big South statistically in goals (21), assists (15), points (57) and goals against average (1.64). Charleston Southern is currently leading the way in goals (25) and total points (67), while Radford sits atop the conference in assists (18) and goals against average (0.57).
Last Time Out
Coming off a tough road loss to Charleston Southern on Saturday, the Liberty women's soccer team looked to rebound at Coastal Carolina, Monday afternoon. However, the Chanticleers had other ideas, as midfielder Amy Tupy took advantage of a corner kick in the second half for a 1-0 decision over the Lady Flames.
With Liberty holding onto a slight offensive advantage in shots, Coastal Carolina turned the tide in the 58th minute. Following a corner kick by forward Morgan Thomas, Tupy connected on a header, which made its way into the Liberty net to give the Chanticleers the 1-0 edge.
Liberty's final attempt to knot the contest came in the final minute. Sophomore midfielder Lauren Stell blasted a shot at the Coastal Carolina goal, however, the attempt sailed high, allowing the Chanticleers to secure the victory.
Leading the Way
Aimee Luurtsema currently leads the Lady Flames in goals (8), assists (3) and points (19), this season and is ranked No. 17 in the nation in total goals and 18th in total points. Through 12 games in 2010, she is currently second in the Big South in total points with 19. Charleston Southern's leading scorer Marky Boyce leads the way in the category with 29. Luurtsema's point total also places her at fourth on Liberty's all-time single-season goal scoring list and fourth all-time on Liberty's single-season points list.
Joining an Exclusive Club
Aimee Luurtsema's 19 points marks the highest season total by a Liberty player in 10 years. The only player in Liberty history to ever score more than 19 points in a single season was Nancy Davis. One of the program's most decorated players, Davis accomplished the feat in three-consecutive years: 1998 (21), 1999 (43) and 2000 (33).