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Liberty Slated for Clash of the Champions Saturday
The Liberty women's soccer team concludes a three-game homestand with a contest against High Point on Saturday. The matchup pits the 2009 regular season-champion Lady Flames against the Panthers, who are the defending 2009 Big South Champions. Game time is slated for 5 p.m.
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Live stats, presented by GameTracker, will be available on LibertyFlames.com, by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results page.
How ‘Bout Them Lady Flames?
Liberty is 4-1 at home this season, posting four-straight shutouts. In five home contests in 2010, Liberty has outscored its opponents 15-1, with the lone marker coming in a 1-0 loss to James Madison on Sept. 3.
The Liberty women's soccer team picked up its second-straight shutout win, Monday afternoon, defeating the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, 3-0, in a Big South contest at Osborne Stadium. With the win, Liberty improved to 5-7-2 on the season and 2-2 in the Big South, while the Runnin' Bulldogs fell to 3-8-2 on the season and 0-3 in conference play. Forwards Aimee Luurtsema and Silvia Betancourt and midfielder Maggie Woody contributed a goal apiece. Midfielder Madison Short finished with two assists.
Goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt enters Saturday's contest after posting back-to-back shutouts in last Saturday's game against Winthrop (1-0) and Monday's contest versus Gardner-Webb (3-0). During the span, the Brampton, Ontario native recorded 11 saves. For the season, Nyholt has 71 saves. The senior has posted a 1.50 goals against average for the season.
Luurtsema leads the team with nine goals and 22 points this season. The junior attacker achieved a milestone in Monday's game against Gardner-Webb, finishing with a goal and an assist to garner the third spot on Liberty's all-time single season points list.
Betancourt follows closely behind Luurtsema with eight goals, two assists and 18 points. The forward needs just one assist to become the third player in school history to record at least 19 points in a single season. Betancourt's goal this past Monday against Gardner-Webb allowed her to surpass Amy Ingalls (1989-92) for sole possession of fourth place on Liberty's all-time career points list with 44.
The marker also tied her with Ingalls for fourth place on Liberty's all-time career goals listing with 19.
Short's two assists in Liberty's win over Gardner-Webb on Monday makes her the team leader in helpers this season with five. The contest also marked the second time the sophomore recorded multiple assists in game this season, first doing so against Charleston Southern on Oct. 2.
Liberty/High Point Series Notes
Liberty enters Saturday's contest with a 10-7-2 record in the all-time series against High Point. Last season, the Lady Flames defeated the Panthers at High Point's Vert Stadium, 2-0, on Oct. 17, 2009.
With the win, the Lady Flames tied the 2005 squad for the longest unbeaten streak in program history, with seven. The Lady Flames surpassed the streak on Oct. 25 with a 2-0 win over Radford.
In the contest against the Panthers, Bekah Moye netted her first career goal nine seconds before halftime, breaking away down the right side for a shot on an open net. Aimee Luurtsema sealed the contest in the 86th minute, connecting on a shot off a free kick in the 2-0 decision.
Scouting the Panthers
High Point enters Saturday's contest with a 4-9-1 record overall and a 2-1-1 posting in conference play. The Panthers are coming off a 1-1 tie with Winthrop on Monday, after junior Margaret Fanning scored a late goal, leading to the stalemate.
Freshman forward Kelli Jolene leads High Point with five goals and 12 points this season, followed by junior forward Katie Taber with three tallies and nine points. Senior midfielder Sara Rager is the team's assist leader with four. Junior goalkeeper Andrea Ritchie has spent the most time in the net for the Panthers, recording 54 saves. She has posted a 2.17 goals-against average so far this season.
Liberty/High Point in the Big South
Through four games, Liberty is 2-2 in the Big South, while the Panthers are 2-1-1. An 18-year league member, Liberty currently holds a 48-66-8 record all-time in conference play. High Point, an 11-year member of the conference, has a 35-39-8 showing all-time in the Big South.
Since becoming a league member, each team has garnered three championships. Liberty captured the conference crown in 2000, 2001 and 2005, and is the only member to record back-to-back championship victories. High Point took home the gold in 2003, 2007 and 2009. In addition to its trio of Big South titles, Liberty has also been crowned regular-season champion on two occasions, 2002 and 2009.
Redshirt senior midfielder Maggie Woody tallied her first goal of the season in the 70th minute of Liberty's game against Gardner-Webb on Monday. The marker, which capped off the Lady Flames trio of goals, was the sixth of Woody's career and her first since she found the net in a contest against Coastal Carolina on Oct. 3, 2008.
The New 3G: Golden Goal Girl
Freshman Casey Norris netted her first career goal in Liberty's 1-0 overtime win against Winthrop last Saturday. The game-winning tally came in 98th minute of the contest, with only 2:37 remaining in the overtime period. 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 second overtime to give Liberty a 1-0 victory.
Coming Up Next
The Lady Flames return to the road next Friday to take on fellow Commonwealth competitor Radford at Patrick D. Cupp Memorial Stadium. The Highlanders currently hold a share of the conference lead with a 3-0-1 record and look to continue their success before meeting the Lady Flames with a matchup against Winthrop tonight, followed by a contest against Gardner-Webb on Sunday. Game time for next Friday's contest is slated for 7 p.m.