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Liberty Heads to Big South Men's Soccer Championship

November 8, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Senior midfielder Alex Verville heads the ball forward during Liberty's meeting with Radford earlier this season.

The Liberty Flames enter the 2011 Big South Championship as the tournament's No. 4 seed for the second consecutive year. Liberty will face the No. 5 seed Radford Highlanders in the first contest of the day, Thursday at Greene-Harbison Stadium.  The match is set to begin at Noon. The Flames and Highlanders will be meeting in the Big South Championship Quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

Flames Claim No. 4 Seed
Liberty completed conference play with a 4-4-1 record and 13 points, tying with Radford and High Point for fourth place in the Big South standings.  By virtue of its victories over Radford and High Point during the regular season, Liberty claimed the No. 4 seed for the tournament. The Highlanders acquired the No. 5 seed due to their victory over High Point during the season and will face the Flames in the first of four contests, Thursday.

How to Follow the Flames
Each game of the 2011 Big South Men's Soccer Championship, including every Liberty contest, will be video streamed by the Big South Network.  The entire championship or individual games are available on the World Wide Web by either clicking the live video link on the men's soccer schedule/results page on LibertyFlames.com or going to the Big South Conference's web site, BigSouthSports.com, and clicking the live video link.

Live stats for each Liberty contest will also be available on LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link on the men's soccer schedule/results page.  Live stats for every game of the 2011 Big South Championship can also be obtained at the Big South Conference's web site, BigSouthSports.com.

Liberty and Highlanders Meet in Quarterfinals
Liberty (9-6-1) will square off against the Radford Highlanders (8-8-1) in the first game of the opening round of the tournament, Thursday at Noon. During the regular season, the Flames defeated the Highlanders, 3-0, at Osborne Stadium on Nov. 2. 

The two teams will meet for the second consecutive year in the opening round of the tournament.  Last season, Radford won 2-1 over Liberty at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C. on Nov. 11 to advance.  Before the victory, Liberty had taken the previous four meetings between the two teams at the Big South Championship, including a 2-0 victory in the semifinals of the 2009 tournament held at Greene-Harbison Stadium.

A Look at Liberty
Liberty closed out it regular season with back-to-back, 3-0, wins over UNC Asheville and Radford last week.

With their 3-0 victory over Radford in their final game of the 2011 regular season last Wednesday at Osborne Stadium, the Flames finished the year with a 9-6-1 overall record and 5-1-1 mark at home.

The Flames have averaged 2.06 goals per game, while allowing 1.06 goals per contest. Liberty has outscored its opponents, 33-17, and has recorded a Big South-leading seven shutouts this season.

Liberty head coach Jeff Alder has guided his alma mater to a 106-79-17 overall mark and a 47-27-7 record in Big South play during his 11 seasons. The Flames have posted a 10-8-1 mark during the Big South Championship during his tenute.  In 2007, he led Liberty to the program's first-ever Big South Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. The Flames also reached the conference final under in Alder 2001 and 2009.

Midfielder Phillip Aseweh leads Liberty and is  fifth in the Big South Conference with 20 points. The senior has scored six goals and is also tied for the conference lead with eight assists.

Aseweh is joined by four other Flames with double-digit point totals. Liberty has used a balanced attack this season, as 10 different Flames have netted a goal.

Timothy Bullock, Travis Joseph and Uriah Bentick are next in points for Liberty, having recorded 12 points apiece. Each player has netted four goals and recorded four assists. Both Joseph and Bentick have set personal career-highs with their point totals.

Forward Darren Amoo is next with 11 points. Meanwhile, Amoo has rebounded from a midseason injury to score five goals, the second-highest goal total on the team, and has added an assist.

Freshman goalkeeper Scott Sutarik, the reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Week, has started the last six games for the Flames, recording four shutouts. His four shutouts all have come against Big South opponents. He will enter Thursday's contest with a 0.64 goals-against average and a .840 save percentage.

All-Time Against Radford
The Flames and Highlanders are definitely not strangers to each other, as they have met 48 times  on the soccer field.  Liberty has faced Radford the most of any school in the history of its program. After their win on Nov. 3, the Flames lead the all-time series, 25-15-7.

Liberty has met Radford eight times in the Big South Men's Soccer Championship, the second most of any conference school. The Flames hold a 5-2-1 record against the Highlanders at the conference tournament. After Radford's 2-1 victory last year, the two teams have met five times in the quarterfinals of the Big South Championship. The Flames are 3-2 against the Highlanders during the opening round.

In 2009, the two teams met in the semifinals at Greene-Harbison Stadium, with Liberty advancing to the Big South title game with a 2-0 victory. 

Liberty in the Big South Championship
Since joining the Big South Conference for men's soccer in 1991, Liberty is 19-17-2 in Big South Championship matches. The Flames have posted a 6-2-1 record at the tournament during the past four seasons, reaching the title game in 2007 and 2009.  In 2007, Liberty won its only Big South title with a 2-1 victory over Radford on Nov. 18 at Eagle Stadium in Rock Hill, S.C.

The Flames' most common opponent in the tournament has been the Winthrop Eagles, over whom Liberty holds a slim 5-4-1 all-time edge in their 10 Big South Championship meetings.

Liberty has played Radford, who it will meet again Thursday, eight times in the tournament and has posted a 5-2-1 mark against the Highlanders.

The only other teams the Flames have meet more than three times in the annual event are former conference member UNC Greensboro, High Point and UNC Asheville.  UNC Greensboro won each of its four meetings with Liberty in the Big South Championship, while the Flames hold a 4-0 edge against UNC Asheville.  High Point and Liberty have each won two of the four Big South Championship meetings between the two schools.

Liberty has also played Coastal Carolina (0-1) among current conference members.

The Flames have also played former conference members Birmingham-Southern (1-2), Charleston Southern (1-0), Elon (1-1) and South Alabama (0-2) in the tournament.

Liberty has reached the title game six times, winning the Big South crown once, 2-1 over Radford in 2007. Liberty is 1-5 all-time in the title game.

Aseweh, Amoo and Niño Move Up Career Charts
With a goal in Liberty's final regular season contest last week, forward Darren Amoo has moved into third place on Liberty's career goals list with 35.  With one more goal, the forward will join Darryl Roberts (2002-06) and James Wright (1992-94), who each scored 36 goals during their Liberty career, at the top of the program's all-time goals list.

In addition, Amoo ranks sixth all-time in program annals with 76 career points. The forward is two points away from moving past Jose Gomez (1997-00), who posted 77 in his career, into fifth place. Roberts is Liberty's all-time leader in points, compiling 94 from 2002-06.

Meanwhile, senior midfielder Phillip Aseweh, who is tied for the Big South lead in assists, looks to continue his climb up the Liberty career assist list.  The midfielder is currently fifth on the program's helper list with 21 for his career. The midfielder enters Thursday's game one helper shy of tying for the third spot on the list. Kian Brownlee (1996, 98-00) is the program's all-time assist leader with 27.

Fellow senior Juan F. Niño has also cracked the program's assist list.  After assisting on a goal by Amoo last Wednesday, the midfielder has 18 career assists, placing him seventh on Liberty's career helper list.

The No Goal Zone
Liberty will enter Thursday's contest having not allowed a goal during its last 209:08 of play.  The time spans the Flames' last three contests and includes blankings of UNC Asheville and Radford.

It is the third time this season, Liberty had such a streak. From Sept. 9-Sept. 27, the Flames did not allow a goal for 362:26, its longest period of the season. The span included shutouts of No. 10 Virginia, Howard and Southern Virginia.

In October, the Flames also had another multi-game span in which they did not allow a goal. From Oct. 11-Oct. 22, Liberty did not allow a goal over 327:81 of play. The time spans included shutouts of Presbyterian College and VMI.

Liberty enters the 2011 Big South Championship with seven shutouts, the most in the conference this season. Four of the shutouts have come against conference opponents.

Aseweh Named to CoSIDA Academic All-District Team
Liberty midfielder Phillip Aseweh has been named to the 2011 CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District III men's soccer first team for excellence in the classroom and on the soccer field. It is the second consecutive year, Aseweh has been selected to the team.

Aseweh, a senior, leads Liberty in points, goals and assists this season.  He has tallied six goals and eight assists for 20 points, thus far. Earlier this season, Aseweh was named the Disney Soccer/NSCAA National Player of the Week and Big South Attacking Player of the Week, while earning selection to the SoccerAmerica Team of the Week for Sept. 21. During the prior week, the midfielder scored three goals and recorded an assist, as Liberty defeated No. 10 Virginia, 2-0, and Howard, 4-0.

Academically, the Navrongo, Ghana native has excelled in the classroom.  Currently pursuing a degree in accounting, the senior is on course to graduate in May. He has posted a 3.71 GPA and earned Dean's List mention in each of his seven semesters of his academic career.  A transfer to Liberty, he is a two-time member of the Big South Presidential Honor Roll and also made the 2008 Virginia Tech Athletic Director's Honor Roll.

Marathon Men
Defenders and team captains Chris Phillips and Greg White have played 1484 minutes this season, or every minute of every contest this season for Flames. In addition, each player is in the midst of a starting streak.

White has started every game during his time in a Liberty uniform.  The redshirt junior drew his 55th starting assignment in Liberty's 3-0 win over Radford last Wednesday. White has been a regular starter in each of game of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, with his streak starting on Sept. 1, 2009 in a 10-1 Liberty victory.

Meanwhile, Phillips, a redshirt senior and two-time team captain, was in the Liberty starting 11 for the 58th time, Wednesday. He has not been out of Liberty's starting 11 since Oct. 24, 2008