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Second Half Goal Lifts LU to Big South Win
Midfielder Juan Niño scored the only goal of the second half, propelling the Liberty Flames past the Presbyterian College Blue Hose, 2-1, in a Big South men's soccer match at Martin Field, Friday evening.
With the win, the Flames move to 3-2 in Big South action and 7-5-1 overall. Presbyterian falls to 0-5 in conference play and 2-9-1 overall. The victory snaps a three-game losing streak for the Flames.
Visiting Liberty put pressure on Presbyterian College goalkeeper James Neal early. The Flames organized a shot opportunity for midfielder Richard Nyarko in the fourth minute, which Neal corralled to keep the game scoreless.
The host Blue Hose followed with two shots by Byron Quinatoa. The first shot by the midfielder in the eighth minute was stopped by Liberty goalkeeper Paul Gilbert, while Quinatoa's second attempt sailed wide of the net in the 10th minute.
PC's Thomas Palma forced a save by Gilbert in the 27th minute. Palma headed a pass lofted into the 18-yard box towards the goal, which Gilbert plucked out the year.
Niño countered by ripping a shot towards the Blue Hose net in the 31st minute. However, Neal was up to the task again, turning away the midfielder's attempt and keeping the game scoreless.
After the first 30 minutes passed with neither team scoring, each tallied goals during the next 10 minutes of play. A header by Logan Huff put PC up,1-0, in the 36th minute. Off a corner kick, Huff redirected the kick, which went through the box, for his third goal of the season.
Minutes later, a Blue Hose foul inside the 18-yard box gave the Flames a penalty kick. Defender Uriah Bentick was successful on the spot, ripping the ball into the lower right corner of the net to send the contest to intermission knotted at 1-1. The marker was Bentick's third of the season.
The second half opened with Liberty midfielder Alex Verville and Quinatoa exchanging shot attempts in the 50th minute. Neal turned aside Verville's attempt, while Quinatoa's attempt went wide.
Flames midfielder Phillip Aseweh fired a shot on goal in the 59th minute, but Neal was there again to make the save.
In the 64th minute, Niño gave Liberty an advantage it did not relinquish. The junior midfielder pounced on a Blue Hose turnover in the penalty area and scored the decisive goal, his second of the season.
The Flames defense then took over. Liberty did not allow PC a shot attempt over the final 10 minutes, sealing the 2-1 win.
The Flames outshot the Blue Hose, 20-13, in the contest and held a 9-3 edge in corner kicks.
Gilbert made four saves, all in the first half. Neal recorded eight saves, with six coming over the final 45 minutes.
Liberty returns Tuesday for a Big South Conference match against the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs. Match time at Osborne Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.