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Henion's Late-Game Heroics Lead to Liberty Win
|Liberty forward Kelly Henion and head coach Jess Hain give their thoughts on Liberty's 2-1 win over VMI, Thursday.|
Trailing 1-0 against VMI, Thursday night, the Liberty women's soccer team came back in the final seven minutes, netting two late goals to defeat the Keydets at Osborne Stadium, 2-1.
Redshirt sophomore forward Kelly Henion posted the game-winning goal at the 89:05 mark, placing it into the back of the net off a Madison Short assist. The marker was Henion's third of the season. Short's helper was the 11th of her career, placing her third all-time on Liberty's career assists list.
With the come-from-behind victory, Liberty improves to 6-6-3 on the season and 3-3-1 in Big South play. VMI falls to 3-10-2 overall and 0-6-1 in conference action.
Liberty controlled possession in the first half, outshooting the Keydets, 13-2. The Lady Flames also held a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks during the period.
With neither team able to find the mark in the opening half, VMI displayed solid defense in the final minute, thwarting a trio of Lady Flames attempts. Following a Maddie Boone corner kick, midfielder Casey Norris attempted a header that was blocked by VMI's Christelle Ndongo.
Henion followed up Norris' shot with one of her own, but goalkeeper Amanda Berrios was there to make the save. Short tried one final time for Liberty in the first period, booting a shot that sailed wide over the Keydet net, keeping the contest scoreless.
Liberty continued to control possession in the second period. Despite VMI only taking three shots in the entire period, one of them managed to find the mark in the 76th minute, giving the Keydets the 1-0 edge. After receiving a pass from Ndongo near midfield, VMI leading scorer Sarah Strand dribbled the ball the rest of the way and snuck a shot past Liberty goalkeeper Karen Blocker for her ninth goal of the season.
After shots by Aimee Luurtsema and Boone were corralled by Berrios, Liberty managed to gain the equalizer in the 84th minute. Henion helped on the play, sending a crossing pass to Lauren Stell, who buried the ball into the left corner with a header, tying the contest at 1-1.
Henion, of course, was not done for the night. With 55 ticks on the clock, Short lobbed it to an open Henion, who booted the ball from the right side into the back of the net for the 2-1 final.
Liberty outshot VMI, 29-5, and held a 4-3 edge in corner kicks. The Lady Flames' 29 attempts were their most this season. Berrios played the entire contest in the net for the Keydets, making 10 saves. Blocker occupied the posts for Liberty the full 90 minutes, finishing with three stops.
The Lady Flames return to the field on Saturday for their final game at Osborne Stadium in 2011, playing host to Big South leader Radford. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.