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Trio of Goals Puts Lady Flames Over Bucs, Saturday

October 1, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Ariana Espinoza (left) connected on header in the second half of Liberty's game against Charleston Southern, Saturday, helping the Lady Flames pick up the 3-1 win.

The Liberty women's soccer team continued its winning ways, Saturday afternoon, defeating Charleston Southern, 3-1, at Osborne Stadium.

With the victory, the Lady Flames improve to 5-3-2 on the season and 2-0 in Big South play. The Buccaneers fall to 5-5 on the year and 0-2 in conference action.

A trio of Lady Flames netted goals the contest – Ariana Espinoza, Silvia Betancourt and Casey Norris. Liberty's three markers were assisted by Lauren Stell, Dawn Elmers and Alanna Dunkle.

Charleston Southern's leading scorer Toni Lashley garnered the lone goal for the Buccaneers, with the assist coming courtesy of Gina Thomas.

Liberty outshot the Buccaneers in the first half, 7-3. The Lady Flames fired off five shots in the opening 20 minutes but were unable to find the mark thanks in part to key saves by Charleston Southern goalkeeper, Amy Arroyo.

Following a Buccaneers corner kick in the 29th minute, Anja Djumisic attempted a header, but the shot sailed wide of the net to keep the contest scoreless.

Liberty's last first-half chance at a goal came in the 42nd minute. A Laura Nyholt corner kick sent the ball to forward Kelly Henion, who fired a shot at the Buccaneers net. The attempt was scooped up by Arroyo, leading to the 0-0 tie at halftime.

The Lady Flames picked up the intensity in the second half, taking the advantage just before the 55th minute. Stell took a free kick for Liberty following a Charleston Southern foul, booting the ball in the direction of Espinoza. The Costa Rican native connected flush with a header, placing the ball in the left side of the net for the 1-0 edge. Espinoza's goal was her second on the year.

Liberty maintained its lead until Charleston Southern found the equalizer in the 75th minute. Thomas sent a pass to Lashley, who lobbed the over Liberty goalkeeper Karen Blocker and into the net to knot the contest at 1-1.

With time winding down, the Lady Flames regained the advantage in the 84th minute. Elmers delivered a crossing pass to Betancourt, who outmaneuvered two Charleston Southern defenders and sunk a shot into the right corner. Betancourt's goal was her team-leading fourth goal of the season and 23rd of her Liberty career. The senior midfielder is now tied with Amy Oberlin (2005-08) for second all-time in program history for most career points with 54.

Norris provided Liberty with an insurance goal in the 89th minute to cap off the afternoon's scoring. After Norris' first attempt sailed wide, Dunkle ran down the attempt and dished it back to the sophomore, who promptly blasted the ball into the right corner for the 3-1 final. The goal was Norris' second this season.

Liberty outshout Charleston Southern 14-6 in the contest, while the Buccaneers held a 3-2 advantage on corner kicks.

Arroyo played the entire 90 minutes in goal for Charleston Southern, finishing with four saves. Blocker played in between the Liberty posts for the duration of the contest, making two saves.

The Lady Flames continue Big South play on Thursday, travelling to Boiling Springs, N.C., to take on the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.