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No. 3 Liberty Scores Double Overtime Win Over No. 6 High Point, 3-2
For the third consecutive game on the opening day of the Big South Conference Women's Soccer Championship, it took play into a pair of overtime sessions to decide a winner. The extra-time thriller featured 38 total shots and 21 saves between the two squads. High Point tallied 17 shots including 10 on goal. Liberty finished with 21 shots and 11 on goal. High Point goalkeeper Hannah Nail recorded a career-best eight stops in the game while Liberty's Katherine Neff (Sr., Guelph, Ont.) also tallied career-high eight saves.
The Flames looked to grab the early lead posting several scoring chances in the opening minutes of play. Liberty saw a header carom off the crossbar, and a pair of diving saves by Nail, keep the ball out of the net.
High Point struck first when junior Megan Fielden drove a free kick on goal from 35-yards out that was deflected by Neff before being punched back into the net by sophomore Leslie Long at 10:38.
Things heated up in the closing five minutes of play in the first half. Junior defender Suzanne Edwards (Jr., Waxhaw, N.C.) headed a ball over the outstretched hands of Nail off a corner kick by Faxon (Sr., Chester, N.H.) to knot the score at 1-1 at the 41:52 mark. It was the Big South All-
Conference defender's first collegiate career goal. Less than a minute later (42:48), Panther freshman Laura Eldridge converted a penalty kick after Karolina Straby was taken down in the box by a Liberty defender.
The Panthers held a 2-1 lead at intermission with both squads taking seven shots and High Point owning a 6-4 edge in shots on goal.
The Panthers looked to widen their advantage just five minutes into the second half when Eldridge attempted another penalty kick, but was stopped on a save by Liberty's Neff.
Liberty was able to even the score at 2-2, when junior forward Kendall Bartholomew (Thaxton, Va.) chased down a long throw in by sophomore midfielder Amy Oberlin (So., Ada, Mich.) down the right side of the field and lofted a shot over the head of Nail from just inside the 18-yard box at 65:47.
Despite solid scoring opportunities for both squads in the final 10 minutes, neither team was able to score the game winner in regulation sending the game into overtime.
After playing a scoreless first overtime period, High Point had a pair of scoring chances in the opening minute of the second overtime session but Straby's shot attempt was kick saved by Neff then Eldridge had a drive just sail high over the net.
The Flames answered with the golden goal less than a minute later (101:12) as Faxon lofted a shot from the left corner into the right side of the goal, following a pair of passes up the sideline from Bartholomew and junior Rachel Hetrick (F, Grantville, Pa.).
High Point ends the season at 4-15. Liberty improves to 8-7-1 on the year and advances to Friday's 7:30 p.m. semifinal match-up with the winner of the Coastal Carolina-Radford day one nightcap.
Liberty head coach James Price
"Tonight had more to do with our character than anything else. To come from behind down 2-1 shows our mettle as a team."
High Point head coach Michelle Rayner
"I could not have asked for more from this team. We never got a break all season long and yet they just kept coming out everyday and worked harder. They deserved a better outcome tonight but it just wasn't to be for us. I am so proud of their effort tonight. Every player left all they had on the field and played with ever ounce of passion and heart in this game."