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Lady Flames to Open Big South Play, Thursday
Riding a two-game winning streak, the Liberty women's soccer team returns to Osborne Stadium, Thursday night, opening Big South Conference play against Coastal Carolina. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.
Following their clash with the Chanticleers, the Lady Flames play host to Charleston Southern, Saturday at 1 p.m.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats for both contests will be available on LibertyFlames.com, by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results panel. A live video stream during Thursday's matchup against Coastal Carolina will also be made available through the Big South Network. Nick Pierce will serve as the play-by-play announcer, while former women's soccer assistant coach Adam Godwin will handle color commentary.
A Look at Liberty
Liberty (3-3-2) enters Thursday's contest riding a two-game winning streak. After picking up a 2-1 win at George Washington on Friday, the Lady Flames closed out their stay in the nation's capital with a 2-1 victory over Howard, Sunday.
In the Howard matchup, Ariana Espinoza scored the game-winning goal for Liberty in the 86th minute. With the contest tied at one apiece, the San Jose, Costa Rica, native connected on a header off a Heather Bentley free kick to give Liberty the win. Fellow Costa Rican Silvia Betancourt also scored for the Lady Flames in the contest, netting a goal in the first half.
Betancourt leads the Lady Flames this season with two goals and two assists. Seven other Liberty players have found the back of the net this year – Laura Nyholt, Lauren Stell, Kelly Henion, Megan Warner, Espinoza, Aimee Luurtsema and Geena Swentik.
Karen Blocker has played all 760 minutes in the net for the Lady Flames, making 44 saves and holding a 1.78 goals-against average on the season.
A Look at Coastal Carolina
The Chanticleers come into conference play on the heels of a 1-0 loss to Florida Tech on Sunday. Coastal Carolina controlled the pace of the match against the Panthers; however, Florida Tech was able to find the back of the net with under a minute remaining in the first half to score the match's only goal. The loss dropped Coastal to 0-8-1 on the season and broke a five-game home undefeated streak that dated back to 2010.
Christina Stern paces the Chanticleers with two goals this season. Goalkeeper Saundra Baron has played in eight games between the posts, sporting a 2.31 goals-against average and a save percentage of .612 (30 saves).
Thursday's meeting marks Coastal Carolina's third game at Osborne Stadium this season. The Chanticleers participated in the Liberty Invitational on Sept. 2-4, dropping contests to Valparaiso (1-0) and Brown (3-1).
A Look at Charleston Southern
Currently on a five-game winning streak, Charleston Southern (5-3) opens up conference play on Thursday against High Point (7 p.m.) before paying a visit to the Hill City.
The Buccaneers picked up their fifth straight win last Friday, defeating Longwood in Farmville, Va., 3-2. Toni Lashley, Morgann Wood and Gina Thomas each netted goals for Charleston Southern in the contest. Lashley leads the Buccaneers with four goals, this season.
Heading into the 2011 season, Charleston Southern was projected to finish third in the Big South standings in the conference's preseason poll.
All-time Series Notes
Liberty currently leads Coastal Carolina in the all-time series, 8-5. The Lady Flames ended the Chanticleers 2010 season on Nov. 5, advancing past Coastal Carolina, 3-2, in the quarterfinals of the Big South Championship.
Charleston Southern holds an 11-7-3 advantage in the all-time series with Liberty. Last season, the Buccaneers edged 3-2 Liberty in the conference season-opener on Oct. 2. Down 2-0, Charleston Southern answered with three-straight goals for the comeback victory.
Liberty in the Big South
Liberty enters the conference slate this week holding a 50-69-8 record all-time in Big South regular-season matchups. Last season, the Lady Flames posted a 4-5 record in Big South play.
In Liberty's 2-1 win over George Washington last Friday, goalkeeper Karen Blocker recorded her 200th career save. In Sunday's contest against Howard, Blocker finished with two saves, allowing her to surpass former teammate Ashley Nyholt (2007-10) for third place all-time on Liberty's career saves list. Blocker currently has 206 career saves.
Bend it Like Betancourt
Silvia Betancourt's goal against Howard on Sunday was the 21st of her Liberty career, surpassing Lauren Zealand (1999, 2001, 03-04) for third place all-time for most goals in program history. The goal also tied Betancourt with Zealand for third on Liberty's career points list with 50.
The Old Switcheroo
Flames fans will notice a new but familiar face at the attacking position for Liberty, recently. Known as a defender, junior Lauren Stell has lined up for the Lady Flames at forward, this season, providing quality minutes for Liberty's attack.
During Liberty's first win of the season, a 3-1 victory over Valparaiso on Sept. 4, Stell chipped in two assists. This past Friday against George Washington, the Exton, Pa., native kick started the Lady Flames' offense with a goal in the sixth minute en route to the 2-1 win.
Freshman Geena Swentik netted the game-winning goal against George Washington, last Friday, becoming the third Lady Flame to score her first collegiate goal, this season. Swenitk joins Kelly Henion and Megan Warner, who each picked up their first career goal in a 3-1 win over Valparaiso on Sept. 4.