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Duininck, Liberty Defeat High Point to Open Big South Play
A goal by Sam Duininck during the 76th minute snapped a 1-1 tie, pushing the Liberty Flames to a 2-1 victory over the High Point Panthers in the Big South Conference opener for both teams, Tuesday night at Vert Stadium.
With its sixth consecutive win, Liberty moves to 1-0 in the Big South and 6-1 overall. High Point falls to 0-1 in the conference and 2-5-1 overall.
After 13 minutes of play in the midfield between the 18-yard boxes, host High Point not only got off the first shot of the contest during the 14th minute, but also created an excellent scoring opportunity. Panther midfielder Ryan Bennett came free in the penalty area and lifted a shot high from six yards out.
Liberty countered a minute later. Defender Uriah Bentick fired a crossing pass to the right side of the 18-yard box for Alex Verville, who sidestepped a defender and buried a shot into the far left-hand corner for his second goal of the year, giving the Flames a 1-0 advantage at 14:03.
Forward Timothy Bullock also assisted on the play. The senior has at least one point in each of Liberty's wins this season.
The Flames used a corner kick in the 39th minute to generate another scoring opportunity. The kick from the left side of the field by Bentick was headed off the right post by Chris Phillips. The senior defender had the rebound come back to him for a shot, which was blocked out by Panther goalkeeper Michael Chesler. Midfielder Travis Joseph pounced on the ball in the center of the field and ripped the third shot of the sequence high over the goal from about 25 yards out.
During a half in which shot attempts were hard to come by, Liberty outshot High Point, 6-2. The host Panthers had the edge in corner kicks, 3-2.
After Liberty opened the second half with a free kick in the opening minute and a pass into the box for Joseph, who was able to head the ball down but not settle for a shot, High Point was pressured the Flames' net with back-to-back corner kicks in the 50th minute. Each time, a shot by the Panthers was blocked in front by a Liberty defender.
High Point tied the game in the 54th minute. Flame defender Greg White tried to head the ball back to goalkeeper Josh Pacella. However, the ball got over the head of the keeper rolled into the open net for a goal, knotting the score at 1-1. Until the score, Liberty had not allowed a goal for 354:31.
In the 55th minute, Panther midfielder Shane Malcolm came open in the box for a shot, only to fire it high over the net.
A lofted a pass by midfielder Phillp Aseweh put Joseph in alone on High Point goalkeeper Chesler. However, the Panther keeper was able knock the ball away from Joseph, resulting in a corner kick during the 65th minute. High Point cleared the kick, relieving the Liberty pressure.
In the 71st minute, Bullock forced a save by Chesler. A pass by Aseweh put the senior one-on-one with the Panther netminder for a shot, which he was able to grab to keep the game tied.
Liberty continued its attack on the High Point goal. Verville came open in front of the Panther net during the 75th minute, but Chesler was able to come off the goal line and smoother the attempt.
A minute later, the Flames took the lead. A pass into the 18-yard box gave Joseph a shot, which was blocked down by Chesler. However, he was unable to control the ball. Defender Duininck crashed from the right side and, standing in front of the goalkeeper, put a shot into the open net for his second goal of the season and a 2-1 advantage.
In the 79th minute, a High Point attacker was pulled down in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. However, forward Karo Okiomah pushed the attempt wide.
The host Panthers did press their attack over the final 10 minutes, getting a shot from midfielder Shawn Sloan during the 86th minute, which was blocked out of bounds for a corner kick. On the ensuing kick, Okiomah pulled his shot wide, as the Flames went on for the 2-1 victory.
Liberty outshot High Point, 14-12, in the contest. Corner kicks were even at seven each.
Pacella made one save on the night in the Flames' goal, while Chesler recorded four saves for High Point.
Liberty continues on the road, Sunday. The Flames will travel to Conway, S.C., for a Big South Conference match with the No. 24 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Match time at CCU Soccer Field is 1 p.m.