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Owen's Late Goal Pushes Liberty Past PC
The conclusion of Liberty's women's soccer game against Presbyterian College could not have been scripted any better, Friday night, at Osborne Stadium. With both teams scoreless through 85 minutes of play, senior forward Maria Owen tapped in the game-winning goal on Liberty's Senior Night in the 86th minute, giving the Lady Flames a 1-0 victory over the Blue Hose.
Owen's late-game tally in her final game at Osborne Stadium marks the 17th of her career and moves her into fourth place on Liberty's all-time points list with 45, passing teammate Silvia Betancourt.
With the win, Liberty wraps up the regular season at 7-10-2 overall and 4-5 in conference play. PC falls to 5-13-1 on the season and 2-7 in the Big South.
In the opening stanza, Liberty outshot the visiting team, 7-4. Approaching the 19th minute, Owen made a dash past the defender across the 18-yard box and fired an attempt at goalkeeper Jordan Broadway, but the shot sailed wide right.
Later, in the 25th minute, senior forward Caitlyn Riley settled the ball and belted it from the left side of the box. However, the attempt sustained the same fate, trailing off to the right side of the PC net.
The Blue Hose had a chance of their own just over two minutes later, as forward Kate Baker blasted a shot from inside the penalty area, airmailing it high over the Liberty crossbar. Despite two more shot attempts by the Lady Flames, the score remained 0-0 at halftime.
PC came out swinging in the second half, outshooting the Lady Flames 10-1 in the opening 18 minutes of the period. The Liberty defense stifled the Blue Hose attack the rest of the way, allowing zero shots.
With the offensive tide turned in its favor, Liberty's game-winning goal came with four and a half minutes left. Midfielder Laura Nyholt placed the corner kick directly in front of the goal line on the near post, allowing Owen to swoop in and tap the ball across for the 1-0 decision.
The Blue Hose's second-half flurry allowed them to outshoot Liberty in the contest, 14-11, and hold an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks. Senior Ashley Nyholt proved to be an impenetrable force on the night, making seven saves, all coming in the early stages second half. Broadway remained in between the posts for PC during the entire contest, recording three stops.
The Lady Flames will now prepare for the quarterfinals of the Big South Championship on Thursday at Radford. Seedings and matchups will be announced Saturday evening, following the conclusion of all Big South regular-season contests.