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Golden Goal Propels Liberty Over Winthrop
The Liberty women's soccer team bounced back on Saturday night halting a two-game skid, defeating the Winthrop Eagles, 1-0, in overtime. With 2:37 remaining in the overtime period, Bekah Moye found an open Casey Norris, who belted the shot into the right corner of the net to give Liberty the walk away win.
The matchup marked the first time the two teams had met since facing off in the 2009 Big South Championship quarterfinals, when an eighth seeded Winthrop squad advanced 5-4 on penalty kicks over No. 1 seed Liberty on Nov. 5.
Norris' goal was somewhat reminiscent of last year's regular season clash between the two squads, which occurred one year to the day (Oct. 9, 2009) and ended when forward Maria Owen netted a shot in the final 80 seconds of the overtime to give Liberty a 1-0 victory.
With the extra period win, Liberty improves to 4-7-2 overall and 1-2 in the Big South, while Winthrop falls to 1-8-1 and 1-1 in conference.
Liberty looked to light up the scoreboard early in the first period, firing off three shots in the opening 10 minutes. Owen took the first opportunity in the second minute of the contest, but Winthrop goalkeeper
Kelsey Weavil managed to corral the shot.
In the 10th minute, Weavil once again made the stop for the Eagles, this time defending a header attempt by forward Aimee Luurtsema. Less than 20 seconds later, Owen blasted a shot at the Winthrop goal, which hit the crossbar.
Later in the half, another ball met the crossbar, this time at the opposite end. In the 25th minute, Winthrop's Courtney Durbin blasted a shot which bounced off the bar, keeping the contest scoreless. Just over three minutes later, midfielder Kylene Babuta made an attempt on the Liberty goal, but goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt denied the shot, ultimately leading to a 0-0 halftime score.
Winthrop intensified its offensive attack in the second half, outshooting the Lady Flames 5-1 in the opening 20:28. During the Eagles' flurry, Nyholt recorded two saves. The last two Winthrop attempts of the span were made by Tricia Vensel, who sent it high over the goal twice, once in the 62nd minute and again in the 66th.
Owen also had two solid looks at the goal later in the period. In the 78th minute, Owen blasted a shot which was thwarted by Weavil. Less than two minutes later, the senior had another look, this time sailing a shot high over the Winthrop goal. Despite quality attempts by each team, the contest ended in a stalemate at the end of 90 minutes, forcing the extra period.
In overtime, neither team was able to create an opportunity, until Norris received the pass from Moye with under three minutes left. The freshman's golden goal was the first tally of her collegiate career, allowing Liberty to leave the field with the 1-0 decision.
Liberty and Winthrop finished with 11 shots apiece, while the Lady Flames held a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.
Nyholt played the entire 97:23 in goal for the Lady Flames, picking up five saves. Weavil also played the full contest for Winthrop, finishing with four saves.
Liberty remains at Osborne Stadium on Monday, playing host to Gardner-Webb. The Runnin' Bulldogs enter the contest with 3-7-2 record (0-2-0, BSC) after falling to High Point, 3-1, on Saturday. Game time for Monday's matchup is slated for 4 p.m.