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Liberty and Gardner-Webb Ends in Stalemate
Looking to extend its win streak to five games, the Liberty women's soccer team took on Gardner-Webb, Thursday night, at Green-Harbison Soccer Stadium. After 90 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods, the Lady Flames clash with the Runnin' Bulldogs ended in a scoreless tie.
The Lady Flames are now 5-3-3 on the season and 2-0-1 in Big South Conference play, while the Runnin' Bulldogs are 2-5-4 overall and 0-2-1 in conference this year.
Liberty has now tied Gardner-Webb for the second-straight time. In the previous meeting on Nov. 6, 2010, the Runnin' Bulldogs advanced to the finals of the 2010 Big South Championship on penalty kicks after playing the Lady Flames to a scoreless draw.
Despite the tie, Liberty goalkeeper Karen Blocker achieved a milestone with her 10th career shutout. The redshirt junior netminder is now second all-time on Liberty's career shutouts list.
In the first half, Gardner-Webb's Megan Tremblay took two shots in the opening 11 minutes that sailed wide of the net. During the 26th minute, Liberty forward Aimee Luurtsema attempted to give Liberty the edge, but the senior's shot also went wide of the goal. Freshman Geena Swentik gave it another try in the 44th minute, but the shot was blocked, leading to a scoreless opening period.
The action picked up in the second half, with Liberty outshooting the Runnin' Bulldogs, 8-6, during the period. Blocker thwarted all of Gardner-Webb's attempts on goal, making five stops over the half. On the opposite end, goalkeeper Erika Lenns prevented the Liberty attack from gaining momentum with four saves of her own.
Swentik nearly became the hero for the Lady Flames with 28 ticks left in regulation. Senior midfielder Laura Nyholt belted a corner kick in the closing seconds, which found the head of Swentik. The freshman headed the ball at the Gardner-Webb net, but Lenns was there to make the play and force overtime.
Shots were at a premium in the extra periods. Liberty took just two shots in the two 10-minute sessions, while Gardner-Webb had one, leading to the 0-0 final.
Liberty outshot Gardner-Webb in the contest, 12-9, and had a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. Blocker played the full 110 minutes, recording five saves. Lenns occupied the posts for the Runnin' Bulldogs the entire contest, finishing with four stops.
Gardner-Webb returns to Green-Harbison Soccer Stadium on Saturday to host High Point at 7 p.m.
Liberty continues Big South play on the road Saturday, taking on Winthrop. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.