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Liberty Opens Conference Play at High Point

September 4, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Greg White

The Liberty Flames men's soccer team will begin Big South Conference action, Monday evening.  The Flames (1-1-0) will travel to High Point, N.C., for a match against the High Point Panthers (1-0-1).  Match time at Vert Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. The match will serve as the conference-opening game for both teams.

How to Follow the Flames
Monday night's match will be streamed live via the Big South Network. For more information, please click click on the "Live Video" link under men's soccer in the schedule bar on the main page.

Live stats for Monday night's contest will be available on LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link under men's soccer in the schedule bar on the main page.

Both the video stream and live stats will be provided by the High Point Sports Information Department.

A Look at Liberty
The Liberty Flames, coached by Jeff Alder (98-74-16, 11 seasons), enter Monday's night contest off their first victory of 2011, Tuesday evening at Osborne Stadium.

The Flames defeated the Longwood Lancers, 3-1, to even their ledger at 1-1 on the year. Forward Darren Amoo scored his first two goals and fellow forward Timothy Bullock added his first goal of the year in the victory.  

Freshman goalkeeper Josh Pacella earned his first victory of his college career in Liberty's win, Tuesday.  Having played every minute of the first two games of the year, the freshman has made five saves and allowed two goals.  He enters Monday's contest with a 1.00 goals-against average.

Liberty was picked to finish third in the Big South standings at season's end in the conference's preseason poll.  The Flames return 17 players from last season's 10-7-1 squad, including All-Big South first team defender Uriah Bentick, midfielder Phillip Aseweh and forward Amoo.

All-Time Against High Point
Liberty and High Point will meet for the 26th time Monday. The Flames lead the all-time series between the two teams, 12-9-4.  However, the Panthers have won the last two meetings.

Last season, High Point defeated Liberty, 2-0, at Osborne Stadium on Oct. 8, 2010. The Panther Karo Okiomah netted his ninth goal of the season and High Point also got a score on an own goal by Liberty in the win.

The last time the two teams met at Vert Stadium, High Point edged Liberty, 2-1, on Nov. 4, 2009. The teams had tried to play the week before, only to have the game postponed due to rain. Liberty midfielder Chris Phillips tied the contest in the 84th minute, 1-1, only to see High Point's Okiomah score the game-winner three minutes later for the Panther win.

A Look at High Point
Just like the Flames, High Point picked up their first victory of 2011 this week.  Thursday, the Panthers (1-0-1) defeated Lipscomb, 3-1, in their first home match of the year. 

Junior midfielder  Shawn Sloan scored a goal and had an assist in the contest, while sophomore  Adam Sewell and senior Karo Okiomah each added their first goals of the year in the victory.  High Point tied Elon, 0-0, in its season opener on Aug. 27.

The Panthers are led by fifth-year head coach Dustin Fonder. Fonder has amassed an overall record of 40-33-8 and an 18-8-4 mark in conference play with the Panthers. He was named Big South Coach of the Year in both 2009 and 2010, making him just the third coach in Big South history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.

Goalkeeper Michael Chesler, the 2011 Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, has allowed one goal and made 10 saves this season.  Last year, Chesler posted a 0.89 goals-against average in over 1,923 minutes in the Panther net.

High Point was selected to finish first in the Big South standings in the conference's preseason poll.  The Panthers return nine starters from last year's 16-4-1 squad, including seven all-conference selections and the Big South Freshman of the Year Sewell. Okiomah, the 2010 Big South Player of the Year and a NSCAA All-American, was also tabbed by the conference's coaches as the 2011 Preseason Attacking Player of the Year.

Against the Big South
Liberty opens 2011 with an 83-74-10 record all-time in Big South play.  The Flames have posted a .500 or better conference ledger in 18 out of their 20 seasons in the conference.  In 2007, Liberty won its lone Big South Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

Alder Two Shy of 100 Wins
Head coach Jeff Alder will enter Monday's night match two wins from reaching 100 wins for his career.  Alder has guided his alma mater to a 98-74-16 record over 11 seasons.

Alder's teams have averaged nearly 10 victories per season (9.7) over his first 10 seasons. In addition, he is the only coach to lead the Flames to a Big South Championship and a NCAA Tournament berth, doing so in 2007.

In the past four seasons, Liberty has recorded 10 or more victories each year, the longest consecutive double-digit season win total streak in the coach's tenure and the first time since the 1996-99 campaigns.

Moving up the Career Charts
Entering Monday night's match, several Flames continue to climb up the Liberty career records list.

With two goals during the Flames' 3-1 victory over Longwood, Tuesday night, forward Darren Amoo moved into a fourth place tie on the school career goals list.  The Accra, Ghana native is tied with current Liberty volunteer assistant coach Adrian Bumbut, who was a standout for the Flames from 2004-07, with 32 goals for his career.

In addition, Amoo now ranks sixth all-time in program annals with 72 career points. Darryl Roberts is Liberty's all-time leader in points, compiling 94 from 2002-06.

Meanwhile, with 14 assists each, senior midfielders Juan F. Niño and Phillip Aseweh are both one helper shy of breaking into the top 10 on the program's career list. With one more assist, either midfielder will join Bumbut in 10th place on the list with 15.  Tuesday night, Aseweh recorded his first assist of the year on Amoo's second goal of the evening.

Iron Men
Entering Monday night's game, defenders Chris Phillips and Greg White will look to extend their starting streaks.  Phillips, a senior and two-time team captain, has started 44 straight games for the Flames. He has not been out of Liberty's starting 11 since Oct. 24, 2008.

Meanwhile, White has started every game during his time in a Liberty uniform.  The redshirt junior has drawn an opening assignment in each of the last 40 Flames games. White has been a regular starter in each of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, with his streak starting on Sept. 1, 2009 in a 10-1, Liberty victory over Concord.

A Look Ahead
Liberty continues a three-game road swing, Friday.  The Flames will travel to our nation's capital for a match with the American Eagles.  It will be the first meeting between the two schools in soccer since 2000. The nonconference match is scheduled for 5 p.m.