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Flames Close Regular Season by Hosting Bulldogs
The Liberty Flames men's soccer team (9-6-1, 4-3 Big South) will conclude the 2010 regular season, Saturday by welcoming the UNC Asheville Bulldogs (4-11-1, 2-5 Big South) to Osborne Stadium. The regular season finale for both teams is scheduled for 11 a.m.
How to Follow the Flames
Live stats, presented by Gametracker, will be available for Saturday's contest on LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link on the men's soccer schedule/results page.
A Look at Liberty
The Flames will enter Saturday's match off a hard-fought 1-0 overtime win over VMI, Tuesday night in Lexington, Va.
With a triumph in their final Big South contest of the season, the Flames would surpass last season's conference victory total of four wins (4-2-2 in 2009) with five league victories. In addition, Liberty would post a double-digit win total for the fourth consecutive season.
After 16 games, the Flames have posted a 2.0 goals per game average and a 0.94 goals allowed per game average. The Flames have outscored their opponents, 32-15, so far this season.
Liberty is led by head coach Jeff Alder, who has posted a 96-75-16 record during his 10 years of guiding his alma mater. The Flames have averaged 10 wins per season during his tenure.
Forward Darren Amoo leads the Big South with 25 points. The forward has netted a conference-best 11 goals and had three assists. Midfielder Phillip Aseweh is second on the squad with 14 points. He has scored four goals and recorded six assists. The junior is currently tied for second in the conference in assists.
Eight other Flames have also netted goals this season. Thad Taylor has scored four goals, while Uriah Bentick and Timothy Bullock have each scored three goals. Alex Verville and Juan F. Niño have netted two markers apiece. Midfielder Richard Nyarko, Travis Joseph and White have added one goal apiece.
Paul Gilbert has started 15 of the 16 Liberty contests between the posts as the Flames goalkeeper this season. He enters Saturday's contest with a 0.99 goals-against average and a .737 save percentage. Gilbert has recorded 42 saves in 1,359 minutes and has four shutouts this season.
All-Time Against UNC Asheville
Saturday's meeting between the Flames and the Bulldogs will be their 27th meeting on the soccer field.
Liberty has had the upper hand in the match-up, holding a 19-5-2 advantage in the all-time series. The Flames have not lost to UNC Asheville since 2002, recording an 8-0-1 mark over the span.
Last season, Liberty took both of its meetings with Asheville, defeating the Bulldogs, 2-1, on Nov. 7 during the regular season and 1-0 on Nov. 13 in the first round of the Big South Men's Soccer Championship.
During the regular-season meeting in Asheville, Liberty erased a 1-0 UNC Asheville halftime advantage with two goals in the second half. Darren Amoo knotted the contest with his eighth goal of the year in the 49th minute, taking a pass from Juan F. Nino which put him one-on-one with the goalkeeper who he beat for the score. Midfielder Chris Phillips netted the game-winner in the 78th minute, picking up a loose ball in the 18-yard box following a corner kick by Nino for the 2-1 win.
Six days later, the No. 3-seeded Flames advanced to the Big South Championship semifinals with a 1-0 win over the No. 6-seeded Bulldogs. In what was a defensive contest between the two teams, a goal by Liberty midfielder Alex Verville off a crossing pass by forward Timothy Bullock in the 17th minute proved to be the difference in the contest.
A Look at UNC Asheville
UNC Asheville will be looking to gain some momentum going into the Big South Men's Soccer Championship by starting a two-game win streak. The Bulldogs come to Lynchburg for the final game of their regular season off a 1-0 Big South win over Winthrop, Wednesday in Asheville, N.C.
A goal by forward Bryan George in the 52nd minute gave UNC Asheville its second conference win of the season. Goalkeeper Lassi Hurskainen recorded his third shutout of the year, with three saves in the contest.
The Bulldogs are in their first year under Matt Kern, who took over the program in June. In his first season, UNC Asheville has averaged 0.94 goals per game, while allowing 1.69 goals per game. The Bulldogs have been outscored, 27-15, on the year.
Midfielder Connor Holzinger leads UNC Asheville with seven points. The junior midfielder is tied for sixth in the Big South with five assists and has scored one goal. Jake Hagedorn and Colton Paschall each have scored three goals to lead the Bulldogs. Bryan Bartels and George have netted two goals each.
Hurskainen has started 13 times as the UNC Asheville goalkeeper and has played in all 16 games between the posts. The junior has posted a 1.63 goals-against average and a .761 saves percentage. He has made 86 saves in 1,490 minutes.
Against the Big South
Liberty is 82-48-11 all-time in Big South action. With a victory in Saturday's contest, the Flames will have posted a .500 or better conference ledger in 18 out of their 20 seasons in the Big South. In 2007, Liberty won its lone Big South Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
A Quick Look at the Big South Standings
Saturday will be the final day of the 2010 regular season, and the seedings for the 2010 Big South Championship will be determined by the end of the day.
The three of the top four seeds for the three-day event still remain up for grabs. Only High Point, with an 8-0 record, has secured its seeding. The Panthers, the host of the men's soccer championship, are the regular-season titlists and the top seed.
However, the rest of the top four seeds are undetermined. The second seed is still to be decided between Coastal Carolina, who has a 5-2-1 record, and Radford, who has a 4-2-1 mark in Big South play. A win by Radford Friday night at Gardner-Webb will necessitate a tiebreaker for the second seed between the Highlanders and Chanticleers.
Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb and Liberty are currently tied for fourth place and will solidify their positions with a win in their final regular season contest. If the Bulldogs and Flames finish with identical conference records, Gardner-Webb would get the higher seed, due to their 2-0 win over Liberty on Oct. 19. The Bulldogs host Radford in a key conference aforementioned match, Friday.
One Shy of Double Digits Again
With one more victory, the Flames will have posted double-digit wins in a season for the fourth consecutive year. Head Coach Jeff Alder's teams have won 10 or more matches in each of its season since 2006. During the first three years of the streak, the Flames have recorded a 35-15-8 ledger.
If Liberty posts its fourth straight season of 10 or more wins, it would tie the longest such streak in program history. The Flames had four double-digit victory campaigns from 1996 through 1999 under head coach Bill Bell. Liberty was 49-18-4 during the span.
The Flames are 3-3 at Osborne Stadium with only Saturday's game remaining this season.
Liberty put together a 13-game home unbeaten span from Oct. 14, 2009 - Oct. 9, 2010. 2010 Big South regular-season champion High Point ended the streak with a 2-0 victory on Oct. 9.
On the Road
The Flames finished the regular season with a 5-3 record on the road and a 1-0-1 mark on neutral fields.
The Flames played seven straight games away from Osborne Stadium, before an Oct. 2 game against Coastal Carolina. Seven straight road games ties the most consecutive games away from Lynchburg for the Flames in program history.
The last time Liberty had seven consecutive road games on its schedule was in 1986. That year, Head Coach Bill Bell's team finished its campaign with seven straight road tilts.
The Flames opened their string of road trips with a win at Longwood on Sept. 4 and closed it with a victory at Winthrop, posting a 4-2-1 record during the span. Five of the contests were true road games, while two were on a neutral field, VMI's Patchin Field, during the Sculley Memorial Tournament in Lexington, Va., Sept. 10-12.
Liberty forward Darren Amoo is among the top 25 in several offensive categories nationally.
Amoo is sixth in the country in both points and total goals. The Ghana native has totaled 25 points and 11 goals to lead the Big South Conference this season.
The forward also ranks eighth in the nation with 0.79 goals per game and ninth in the nation with 1.79 points per game.
Moving Up on the Career Charts
Several Flames are climbing the Liberty career records list. Leading the way is forward Darren Amoo whose Osborne Stadium record of four goals in a game on Oct. 22 pushed him into seventh place on the Liberty goals list. Amoo has scored 29 goals in his career and is one goal shy of tying Marshall Worthington (1983-86) and Craig Bell (1979-81) for sixth all-time.
In addition, Amoo has moved into the Liberty top 10 in points. The forward has 66 career points, tying him with Bell and Worthington for ninth on the points list.
Joining Amoo is goalkeeper Paul Gilbert, who has moved into fourth on the program's career shutout list with 14 blankings. In addition, Gilbert sits fifth on Liberty's career goals-against average list with a 1.22 career GAA. The redshirt junior is also eighth all-time with 138 career saves, two shy of joining Kevin Mahan, who played goal for the Flames from 2002-06, in seventh place.
Meanwhile, with 14 assists, junior midfielder Juan F. Nino is one shy from breaking into the top 10 of Liberty's career list. With his next helper, Nino will join Adrian Bumbut (2004-07) for 10th position on the list with 15.
A Look Ahead
Liberty travels to High Point, N.C., for the 2010 Big South Men's Soccer Championship, Thursday-Sunday. The Flames will face a still yet to be determined opponent in one of the four first-round games scheduled Thursday.