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Liberty Upends No. 12 Virginia, 2-0
With Liberty's first ever victory over Virginia, the Flames move to 3-1 on the year. Liberty has won three-straight matches. In addition, the win gives head coach Jeff Alder his 100th career coaching victory. Virginia falls to 4-2.
Liberty forward Darren Amoo fired the first shots of the contest during the 13th minute. Taking a pass into the center of the 18-yard box from midfielder Aseweh, the forward slid his first attempt of the night wide. Moments later, Flames midfielder Juan F. Nino controlled a Cavalier goal kick and pushed the ball forward for Amoo, who launched a shot from the right side of the box, forcing a save by Virginia goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita.
Virginia countered with an opportunity of its own in the 24th minute. After a free kick bounced off a wall of Liberty players in front, forward Will Bates headed a pass into the penalty area high over the goal.
In the 34th minute, Bates moved into free space on the left side of the 18-yard box off a pass by midfielder Brian Ownby. Liberty goalkeeper Josh Pacella came out of his net, compelling Bates to push his shot past the far right post wide.
The Flames countered quickly in the same minute. A long pass from midfield into the right corner of the field was settled by midfielder Alex Verville. The senior moved past a Virginia defender and blasted a shot, which was corralled by LaCivita.
Ownby and Bates once again created a scoring opportunity for the Cavaliers with a give-and-go in the 39th minute. This time, Bates put a pass onto the foot of Ownby in the box for a shot, but the midfielder's shot sailed wide.
In the opening half, host Virginia held a 6-3 advantage in shots, with corner kicks even at two apiece.
After the Cavaliers opened the second half with a shot wide in the 48th minute by Ownby, Liberty answered with scoring opportunity of its own. Aseweh moved past a line of Virginia defenders and into the 18-yard box. The midfielder dropped a pass off to fellow midfielder Travis Joseph on his left for a shot, which was smothered and controlled by LaCivita in the 50th minute.
During the next 10 minutes, play between the two squads settled into the midfield between the two 18-yard boxes. The host Cavaliers finally mounted an attack during the 60th minute. Off a free kick, midfielder Chris Somerville sent a crossing pass from the left side through the box to midfielder Brian Spahn on the right side. Spahn ripped a shot which was blocked by Liberty defender Uriah Bentick and cleared.
The Flames put pressure on the Virginia goal in the 66th minute, coming away with two scoring chances. Forward Kyle Breitmeyer came free on the right side of the box for a shot, which was batted away by LaCivita.
Off the ensuing corner kick, Liberty was able to create another chance. A header by Phillips went off the post in the 67th minute and was cleared.
The Flames broke through for their first goal of the night at 71:42. Off a free kick, defender Sam Duininck's header was blocked into the air. Phillips, who was free in the middle of the box, headed the ball past traffic and into the net for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 Liberty advantage.
Less than three minutes later, the Flames extended their lead to 2-0. Forward Timothy Bullock drew several defenders to him and dropped a pass for Aseweh in the center of the box. Catching LaCivita out of his net, the midfielder blasted a shot into the open right side for his first goal of the year at 74:28.
Virginia's Felipe Libreros fired a shot high off a corner kick in the 76th minute and followed with another shot attempt which sailed high in the 79th minute.
In the 81st minute, Liberty forced two more diving saves from LaCivita. Nino ripped a shot from the right side of the box, which was saved by the Cavalier keeper. Verville followed in the 82nd minute by pouncing on a clearing attempt by Virginia and firing shot which LaCivita pushed aside.
Liberty did not allow the Cavaliers a shot during the closing minutes, sealing a 2-0 win.
The Flames outshot Virginia, 16-12, in the contest. Liberty also held a 7-6 edge in corner kicks.
Pacella played the entire game in the net for Liberty, recording his first collegiate shutout. LaCivita had six saves.
The Flames return home to begin a three-game homestand on Friday. Liberty will host the Howard Bison at Osborne Stadium. Match time is scheduled for 4 p.m.