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Liberty Ends Regular Season with 3-0 Win
The Liberty Flames recorded their seventh shutout of the year, downing the visiting Radford Highlanders, 3-0, in a Big South match to close out their regular season, Wednesday afternoon at Osborne Stadium.
With the win, Liberty moves to 4-4-1 in Big South Conference play and 9-6-1 overall. Radford drops to 3-4-1 in conference action and 8-8-1 overall.
Playing in their final home game in a Flames uniform, midfielder Phillip Aseweh and forward Darren Amoo each scored goals for Liberty. Sophomore midfielder Juan J. Niño opened the scoring for the Flames with his first goal of the year. Liberty completes its home schedule, 5-1-1 at Osborne Stadium.
The Flames and Highlanders played a wide open, fast paced opening 30 minutes, started off by a header by Radford midfielder Carter Mills off a corner kick in the third minute of play.
Staying on the attack, the Highlanders' leading scorer, forward Iyiola Awosika came free in the 18-yard box during the fifth minute. The forward headed an attempt towards the Liberty net, which Flames goalkeeper Scott Sutarik came off his line and corralled for his first save of the afternoon.
In transition, Liberty got its first shot of the game during the seventh minute, as a header by forward Kyle Breitmeyer forced a diving save by Radford goalkeeper Ryan Taylor.
Over the next 15 minutes, the two sides exchanged several shot attempts, without denting the scoreboard.
Juan J. Niño gave Liberty a 1-0 lead during the 34th minute. Amoo took a loose ball near the top of the penalty area and beat two defenders, before feeding Niño with a pass in the left corner of the 18-yard box. The midfielder sidestepped two defenders and fired a shot into the lower left corner, giving the Flames an advantage.
Shortly after the Liberty marker, Highlander Brain Gwanzura caught Sutarik off the goal line with a shot. However, Flame defender Greg White scrambled back and cleared the ball off the line to keep the visitors scoreless.
In the 38th minute, a Radford player was issued a red card, forcing the visiting Highlanders to play the rest of the way a man down.
Radford held a 7-6 edge in shots over Liberty in the first half of play. The Highlanders also held a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks during the first 45 minutes.
The Flames began the second half on the attack. After being whistled offsides during the 49th minute, Amoo worked his way free for a shot from 20 yards out during the 57th minute. The forward rocketed a liner off the top of the crossbar and out of play.
Liberty struck for two quick goals over a 1:31 span. Off a corner kick during the 64th minute, Liberty extended its lead to 2-0. Senior midfielder Juan F. Niño lofted a pass to the center of the box for Amoo, who headed into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the year.
A minute later, a shot by Breitmeyer hit the crossbar and was cleared. However, Aseweh pounced on the clearing attempt and sent a pass ahead to Breitmeyer, who moved the ball into the box and drew a defender. The forward fed a pass back to Aseweh, who ripped a shot into the right corner for his sixth goal of the year, putting Liberty up with the final margin of victory, 3-0.
Shots during the entire contest were even at 12-12, with Radford holding a 6-5 edge in corner kicks.
Sutarik made five saves, posting his fourth shutout in six starts in the Liberty net. Taylor recorded two saves for the Highlanders.
With his goal in the second half, Amoo moves into third on Liberty's career goals list with 35. He is one shy of tying Darrell Roberts (2002-06) and James Wright (1992-94) for the top spot on the list with 36. The forward is also tied for fourth with Adrian Bumbut (2004-07) on the program's points list with 79.
Juan F. Niño's assist on Aseweh's goal was the 18th of his career, moving him into sixth on Liberty's all-time list.
With their regular season concluded, the Flames will await the conclusion of the Big South Conference regular season on Saturday to find out their seeding and opponent in the Big South quarterfinals, Thursday. The Big South Men's Soccer Championship will be played at Greene-Haribson Stadium in Boiling Springs, N.C., Nov. 10-13.