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Liberty Faces IUPUI to Open 2011 Season
The Liberty Flames men's soccer team will open its 2011 campaign, Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis, Ind. The Flames will meet the IUPUI Jaguars for the first time in program history. The match at Kuntz Stadium is slated to start at Noon. The game will begin the 37th year of Liberty soccer and the 11th season under the guidance of head coach Jeff Alder.
How to Follow the Flames
Live stats for Saturday's contest will be available on LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link on the men's soccer schedule/results page. Live stats will be provided by IUPUI.
A Look at Liberty
The Liberty Flames, coached by Jeff Alder (97-73-16, 10 seasons), enter 2011 off their fourth consecutive year with a double-digit win total Liberty has posted four-straight 10-plus win seasons for the first time since the 1996-99 campaigns. The Flames posted a 10-7-1 record and finished third in the Big South with a 5-3 mark in 2010.
The Flames, picked to finish third in the Big South standings at season's end by the league's coaches in the conference's Preseason Poll, return 17 players and eight out of 11 starters from last year's squad.
After sporting a potent offense, the Flames return nine out of 10 players who scored goals during the 2010 season. Last season, Liberty outscored its opponents by a 35-17 margin, en route to ranking 21st in the country in scoring offense by averaging 1.94 goals per game. The Flames also led the Big South Conference in goals allowed, with a 0.93 goals per game average.
Liberty returns its two top scorers from a season ago, Darren Amoo and Phillip Aseweh. Amoo, a two-time South Atlantic Region team member, led the Big South for the second-straight year in both points and goals, posting 27 points and netting 12 goals. The forward also was named first team All-Big South for the second consecutive year. Meanwhile, Aseweh was the Flames' second-leading scorer with 15 points on four goals and seven assists. He led Liberty in assists last season and earned Big South Conference first team honors.
In addition, the Flames return several other players who were key contributors on the attack last season in forwards Alex Verville and Timothy Bullock and midfielders Juan F. Niño and Richard Nyarko.
Back on defense, the Liberty also returns two tested veterans in Greg White and Uriah Bentick. White has become a fixture in the middle of the Flames' back line, having started every game of his first two seasons at Liberty. Bentick earned South Atlantic Region and Big South Conference honors last season.
The two defenders will be joined by senior Chris Phillips for his final season in a Flames uniform. Phillips has played in over 60 games during his time at Liberty.
In goal, the Flames will have a new face. Sam Chapell, Scott McKinney, Josh Pacella, and Scott Sutarik have staged a strong preseason competition at the position, with no starter being determined as of yet.
The Flames will attempt to win their sixth consecutive season opener, Saturday. Last season, Liberty began the 2010 campaign with a 6-0 victory over Bluefield on Sept. 1 at Osborne Stadium.
Defender Uriah Bentick got the Flames started with the first goal of his Liberty career in the ninth minute and 2011 returners Darren Amoo and Alex Verville also netted goals for the Flames in the victory. Phillip Aseweh had three assists in the game to tie a Liberty record for helpers in a game.
Liberty is 24-12 all-time in season openers and 7-3 during head coach Jeff Alder's tenure.
A Look at IUPUI
Located in Indianapolis, Ind., the IUPUI Jaguars are under the direction of former Liberty player Isang Jacob. Hired in June 2011, the first-year coach began his collegiate career as a teammate of Flames head coach Jeff Alder at Liberty in 1988 under then head coach Bill Bell. Jacobs then transferred to Indiana Wesleyan where he was a three-time All-MCC pick and two-time NCCAA All-American from 1989-1992.
Last season, the Jaguars posted a 9-8-2 overall record and finished second in the Summit League standings with a 4-2-0 mark. Among IUPUI's victories last season was a campaign-opening, 3-1 win over Big South member UNC Asheville at the Kentucky Invitational Tournament on Sept. 3.
The Jaguars return 17 letterwinners from last season's team, including Summit Newcomer of the Year Jeff Keyler and All-Summit team member Perez Agaba. Keyler, a sophomore, was IUPUI's leading scorer in 2010, posting 13 points on five goals and three assists. Fellow forward, Perez Agaba, had 10 points on four goals and two assists.
On the back line, the Jaguars return two seniors, All-Summit League defender Yogi Snider and junior goalkeeper Alex Mannen. Snider, a senior, played in 17 games last season for IUPUI, while Mannen took over in net in the latter part of 2011, recording a 5-0-1 record and a 0.58 goals-against average.
Last season, the Jaguars were outscored by their opponents by a 21-20 margin, while allowing 1.11 goals per game. IUPUI was successful on its home turf, posting a 5-2-1 record at Kuntz Stadium
All-time Against IUPUI
Saturday's meeting will be the first ever between the Flames and Jaguars on the soccer field. The Jaguars are the only opponent Jeff Alder's team will be meeting for the first time this season.
For the fourth straight year, Liberty posted 10 or more wins in season in 2010. 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 45-22-9 ledger over the past 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.
Moving up the Career Charts
Several Flames are climbing the Liberty career records list, entering the 2011 season. Leading the way is forward Darren Amoo. The Accra, Ghana native enters the season tied for sixth on the Liberty career goal list with 30. With two more goals, the forward will move into a tie for fourth with current Liberty volunteer assistant coach Adrian Bumbut, who was a standout for the Flames from 2004-07.
In addition, Amoo ranks seventh all-time in program annals with 68 career points. Darryl Roberts is Liberty's all-time leader in points, compiling 94 from 2002-06.
Meanwhile, with 14 assists, senior midfielder Juan F. Niño is one shy of breaking into the top 10 on the program's career list. With his next helper, Niño will join Bumbut in 10th on the list with 15.
His fellow midfielder Phillip Aseweh is two shy of cracking the top 10 assist list. Aseweh enters Saturday's season-opening contest with 13 career assists.
A Look Ahead
Liberty will return to Lynchburg for its first home game of the year, Tuesday night. The Flames will host the Longwood Lancers at Osborne Stadium at 7 p.m.