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Liberty Men's Soccer Heads to 2010 Big South Championship
LIBERTY ENTERS BIG SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP AS NO. 4 SEED
The Liberty Flames enter the 2010 Big South Championship as the No. 4 seed. Liberty ended conference play with a 5-3 record and 15 points in the regular season, tying with Gardner-Webb for third place in the standings. The Flames garnered the No. 4 seed after Gardner-Webb claimed the No. 3 seed due to a 2-0 win over Liberty on Oct. 19.
Overall, Liberty has posted its fourth consecutive season with 10 or more wins, entering the 2010 Big South Championship with a 10-6-1 mark on the year. The Flames are averaging 2.0 goals per game, while allowing 0.88 goals per contest. Head Coach Jeff Alder's club has outscored its opponents, 34-15, on the season.
FLAMES AND HIGHLANDERS IN FIRST ROUND
Liberty (10-6-1), the 2010 Big South Championship's No. 4 seed, will square off against the Radford Highlanders (6-8-3), the No. 5 seed, in the third game of the opening round of the tournament, Thursday at 5 p.m. During the regular season, Radford took a 1-0 decision in Radford, Va., Sept. 12. A goal by Iyiola Awosika in the 65th minute was the lone marker in the Highlander victory.
However, Liberty has taken the past four meetings between the two teams at the Big South Championship, including a 2-0 victory in the semifinals of last year's tournament in Boiling Springs, N.C.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE FLAMES
Each game of the 2010 Big South Men's Soccer Championship, including every Liberty contest, will be video streamed by the Big South Network. The entire championship or individual games are available on the World Wide Web by either clicking the live video link on the men's soccer schedule/results page on LibertyFlames.com or going to the Big South Conference's web site, BigSouthSports.com, and clicking the live video link.
Live stats for each Liberty contest will also be available on LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link on the men's soccer schedule/results page. Live stats for every game of the 2010 Big South Championship can also be obtained at the Big South Conference's web site, BigSouthSports.com.
ALL-TIME SERIES AGAINST RADFORD
The Flames and Highlanders are no strangers to each other over the years, as they have met 46 times on the soccer field. Liberty has faced Radford the most of any school in the history of its program. The Flames lead the all-time series, 24-14-7. However, the Highlanders won the regular-season meeting between the two squads in Radford, 1-0, on Sept. 12.
In addition, Liberty has met Radford seven times in the Big South Men's Soccer Championship, the second most of any conference school. The Flames hold a 5-1-1 record against the Highlanders at the conference tournament. Liberty and Radford have met four times in the first round of the Big South Championship, the last being in 2004. The Flames are 3-1 against the Highlanders during the first round.
Last season, the two teams met in the semifinals, with Liberty advancing to the Big South title game with a 2-0 victory. Forward Darren Amoo scored the game's first goal in the 23rd minute and an own goal by Radford in the 34th minute gave the Flames a 2-0 lead at halftime. After the break, Liberty used solid defense to move on in the tournament with a 2-0 victory.
LAST TIME AT THE BIG SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
The No. 3 seed Flames fell to the No. 4 seed Winthrop, 2-1, in the Big South Championship title game, Nov. 15, 20098, at Harbison-Greene Stadium in Boiling Springs, N.C. Liberty struck for its lone goal of the contest, just 1:41 into the game. Forward Darren Amoo picked up a wayward clearing pass and fired a pass to midfielder Alex Verville, who beat the Winthrop goalkeeper with a shot to the far post from 12 yards out for his third goal of the year. However, the Eagles rallied for two goals, the game-winner coming in the 74th minute, to claim the title.
LIBERTY IN THE BIG SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
Since joining the Big South Conference for men's soccer in 1991, Liberty is 19-16-2 in Big South Championship matches. The Flames have posted a 6-1-1 record at the tournament during the past three seasons, reaching the title game in 2007 and 2009. In 2007, Liberty won its only Big South title with a 2-1 victory over Radford on Nov. 18 at Eagle Stadium in Rock Hill, S.C.
The Flames' most common opponent in the tournament has been the Winthrop Eagles, over whom Liberty holds a slim 5-4-1 all-time edge in their 10 Big South Championship meetings.
Liberty has played Radford, who it will met again Thursday, seven times in the tournament and has posted a 5-1-1 mark against the Highlanders.
The only other teams the Flames have meet more than three times in the annual event are former conference member UNC Greensboro, High Point and UNC Asheville. UNC Greensboro won each of its four meetings with Liberty in the Big South Championship, while the Flames hold a 4-0 edge against UNC Asheville. High Point and Liberty have each won two of the four Big South Championship meetings between the two schools.
Liberty has also played Charleston Southern (1-0) and Coastal Carolina (0-1) among current conference members.
The Flames have also played former conference members Birmingham-Southern (1-2), Elon (1-1) and South Alabama (0-2) in the tournament.
Liberty has reached the title game six times, winning the Big South crown once, 2-1 over Radford in 2007. Liberty is 1-5 all-time in the title game.
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE BIG SOUTH
Liberty is 83-48-11 all-time in Big South action. The Flames 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 LOOK AT THE FLAMES
After defeating the UNC Asheville Bulldogs in their regular season finale this past Saturday at Osborne Stadium, the Flames will enter Thursday's match on a three-game winning streak. The winning streak is the longest of the season for Liberty. The Flame have not allowed a goal in 321:06.
Jeff Alder's club broke open a defensive contest with a pair of second-half goals for a 2-0 home victory over UNC Asheville. After the first 69 minutes were scoreless, Liberty netted its first goal of the contest off a free kick set above the right side of the 18-yard box in the 70th minute. Midfielder Zack Clark pushed the kick toward the far post, and forward Travis Joseph headed it past the UNC Asheville goalkeeper for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 Liberty advantage.
Six minutes later, Liberty extended its lead to the final score of 2-0. Phillip Aseweh moved into the right side of the 18-yard box and sent a pass across the front of the goal mouth for Joseph, who tipped it to forward Timothy Bullock. The forward flipped the ball into the left side of the net for the Flames' second goal of the day.
Over the final 15 minutes, Liberty held possession, not allowing Asheville a shot opportunity to seal the victory. The Flames allowed only four shots in the contest by the Bulldogs in recording their seventh shutout of the season and third blanking in a row.
With a triumph in their final Big South contest of the regular season, the Flames surpassed 2009's conference victory total of four wins (4-2-2) with five league victories. In addition, Liberty recorded a double-digit win total for the fourth consecutive season.
The Flames have scored 2.0 goals per game and allowed 0.88 goals per contest, outscoring their opponents, 34-15. Liberty has scored two or more goals in nine contests during 2010.
Darren Amoo leads the Flames and is tied for the Big South lead with 25 points. The forward has netted a conference-best 11 goals and has three assists so far. He is averaging 0.73 goals per game this season.
Aseweh is second on the squad with 15 points. He has scored four goals and recorded seven assists and is currently tied for second in the conference in assists. His assist total is a new career-high for the midfielder, eclipsing last year's total of six.
Eight other Flames have also netted goals this season. Midfielder Thad Taylor has scored a career-high four goals, while Bullock also has four goals. Uriah Bentick has netted three goals. Alex Verville, Juan F. Niño and Joseph have tallied two markers apiece. Richard Nyarko and Greg White have added one goal each. White's goal was a game-winning goal in overtime at VMI, Nov. 2.
Paul Gilbert has started 16 of the 17 Liberty contests between the posts as the Flames' goalkeeper this season. He enters Thursday's contest with a 0.93 goals-against average and a .741 save percentage. He finished the regular season second in the conference in goals-against average. Gilbert has recorded 43 saves in 1,449 minutes and has five shutouts this season.
For the fourth straight year, Liberty has posted 10 or more wins in season. The Flames began the streak by reaching the second-highest win total in program history with a 13-5-2 record in 2007. Liberty has recorded a 45-21-9 ledger over the four campaigns.
The double-digit streak ties the longest such streak in program history. The Flames had four double-digit victory seasons from 1996 through 1999 under head coach Bill Bell. Liberty was 49-18-4 during the span.
In addition, Liberty has posted five consecutive seasons with a winning record. The span began in 2006 with a 9-6 record.
The Flames finished the year, with a 4-3 record at Osborne Stadium. Liberty finished its home schedule by winning its last two home games.
Liberty put together a 13-game home unbeaten span from Oct. 14, 2009 - Oct. 9, 2010. High Point, the 2010 Big South regular-season champion, 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.
Liberty played seven straight games away from Osborne Stadium, from Sept. 4 through 25. Seven straight 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 on Sept. 25, 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 redshirt sophomore Darren Amoo is among the top 25 in several offensive categories nationally. The Ghana native enters the week ranked ninth in the nation with a 0.73 goals per game, having scored 11 goals in 15 contests, so far this season.
In addition, Amoo is 12th nationally in points per game, averaging 1.67 points per contest. The forward has 25 total points, ranking him 22nd in the country in the category.
As a team, the Flames are 17th among NCAA Division I programs in scoring offense. Liberty is averaging 2.0 goals per game.
MOVING UP THE CAREER CHARTS
Several Flames are climbing the Liberty career records list, entering the 2010 Big South Championship. 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 career 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 15 blankings. The redshirt junior recently passed Liberty graduate assistant A.J. Madero, who had 13 shutouts in his career, with a 1-0 overtime victory at VMI, Nov. 2.
In addition, Gilbert sits fifth on Liberty's career goals-against average list with a 1.19 career GAA. The 2007 Big South Freshman of the Year is also eighth all-time with 134 career saves, one 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 of 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.
His fellow midfielder Phillip Aseweh is two shy of joining Bumbut. Aseweh enters Thursday's contest with 13 career assists.
THREE FLAMES NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG SOUTH
Liberty placed three players on the 2010 Big South all-conference team. The trio of Flames were all named to the first team.
Forward Darren Amoo, midfielder Phillip Aseweh and defender Uriah Bentick were each selected by the conference coaches to the All-Big South first team, which was announced yesterday. Amoo received his second selection to the all-conference squad after being named to the first team in 2009. Aseweh and Bentick each were selected to the team for the first time. In additions, Aseweh was named to the Big South men's soccer all-academic team.
Last season, the Flames also had three players named to the All-Big South first team. Along with Amoo, defenders Chris Mandell and Michael Ward were selected to the all-conference first team.
ASEWEH NAMED TO COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT TEAM
Liberty midfielder Phillip Aseweh was selected to the 2010 CoSIDA Academic All-District III first team for excellence in the classroom and on the soccer field
Aseweh, a junior, has started all 17 Liberty contests and has scored four goals and recorded a team-leading seven assists. Currently, he is tied for second in the conference in assists.
Academically, Aseweh has excelled in the classroom. Currently pursuing a degree in accounting, the junior has a 3.79 GPA. Aseweh has earned Dean's List mention each of his four semesters of his academic career. The transfer was a member of the 2009 Big South Presidential Honor Roll and the 2008 Virginia Tech Athletic Director's Honor Roll.
The Flames will enter the 2010 Big South Championship having posted shutouts in their last three contests. Liberty has held its opponents without a goal for the last 321:06. It is the longest such streak of the year for the Flames, who have seven shutouts this season. Gardner-Webb was the last team to score against Liberty, at 46:54 on Oct. 19 in Lynchburg.