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Liberty to Face Old Dominion in NCAA Opening Round

November 16, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Juan F. Nino and Phillip Aseweh

The 2011 Big South Champion Liberty Flames (11-6-2) will travel to Norfolk, Va., to square off against the No. 21-ranked Old Dominion Monarchs (12-5-1) in the opening round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship, Thursday at ODU Soccer Complex.  The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to meet the No. 16 seed Indiana Hoosiers, Sunday in Bloomington, Ind.

Liberty in NCAA Men's Soccer Championship
Liberty will be making its second appearance in a NCAA Men's Division I College Cup since becoming a Division I member in 1989. In 2007, the Flames captured the Big South Championship and faced Loyola (Md.) in Baltimore, Md., falling 2-0 on Nov. 24.

How to Follow the Flames
Thursday evening's contest will be available via video stream by the Old Dominion Athletic Department. The stream can be accessed on the World Wide Web by either clicking the live video link on the men's soccer schedule/results page on LibertyFlames.com or by going to www.odusports.com/allaccess.

Live stats for Liberty and Old Dominion will also be available on LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link on the men's soccer schedule/results page.

A Look at Liberty
With a 3-1 victory over No. 2 seed Gardner-Webb, the Flames (11-6-2) captured their second Big South title and the conference's automatic berth to the 2011 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship. Liberty made its first NCAA appearance in 2007.

The Flames have averaged 2.0 goals per game, while allowing 1.0 goals per contest. Liberty has outscored its opponents, 38-19, and has recorded a Big South-leading eight shutouts this season. Liberty enters Thursday's contest ranked 11th in the nation in scoring offense.

Liberty head coach Jeff Alder has guided his alma mater to a 108-79-18 overall mark and a 47-27-7 record in Big South play during his 11 seasons. In addition to this season, he led Liberty to the program's first-ever Big South Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 2007. Including 2011, the Flames have posted double-digit win totals in each of the last five seasons.

Midfielder Phillip Aseweh leads Liberty and finished fifth in the Big South Conference with 22 points. The senior has scored seven goals and 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 11 different Flames have netted a goal.

With two goals last weekend, forward Darren Amoo is second on the Flames with 15 points. The forward has rebounded from a midseason injury to tie Aseweh for the team lead in goals with seven and has added an assist.

Travis Joseph, Timothy Bullock and Uriah Bentick have also reached double-digit point totals. With a goal in Liberty's 2-1 victory over No. 9 Coastal Carolina, Friday, Joseph now has a single-season career-high 14 points. The forward has netted five goals and recorded four assists. Meanwhile, Bullock has posted 13 points, with four goals and five assists, and Bentick, a defender, has compiled 12 points on four goals and four assists.

Freshman goalkeeper Scott Sutarik has started the last nine games for the Flames, recording five shutouts. He will enter Thursday's contest with a 0.63 goals-against average and a .829 save percentage.

All-Time Against Old Dominion
The Flames and Monarchs will be meeting for the third time on the soccer field, Thursday, and the first time since 2001. The series is tied at 1-1, with each team winning on each other's field.

In 2000, Liberty defeated Old Dominion, 1-0, on Sept. 23 in Norfolk.  The following year, the Monarchs beat the Flames, 4-0, on Oct. 16 in Lynchburg during Liberty head coach Jeff Alder's first season leading his alma mater.

A Look at Old Dominion
Despite falling 2-1 to Delaware in the Colonial Athletic Association final on Sunday, the Monarchs (12-5-1), ranked 21st nationally, received at-large berth to the NCAA Championship. Old Dominion is 7-0-1 at home this season.

Featuring one of the most dynamic offenses in country this season, Old Dominion enters the week second in the nation in scoring offense, after averaging 2.67 goals per game.  The Monarchs have allowed 1.39 goals per contest. Old Dominion is outscoring its opponents, 48-25.

In 14 years at Old Dominion, head coach Alan Dawson has posted a 171-94-26 record. Dawson has led the Monarchs to seven consecutive NCAA Tournament berths and eight in the last 10 years.

The Monarchs have three players with 20 or more points on the season. Junior forward Yannick Smith is ninth in the nation and leads Old Dominion with 34 points.  He is sixth in the country with 16 goals.  Fellow forward Tim Hopkinson is 20th in the nation with 28 points on 10 goals and eight assists on the year. Midfielder Gideon Asante has 23 points to round out the trio.  He has scored eight goals and posted a team-high nine assists.

Junior Victor Francoz has started all 18 contests between the posts for the Monarchs. He has posted a1.38 goals-against average and a .750 save percentage.  Francoz has recorded five shutouts.

On the Road
The Flames have posted a 5-5 road record this season. Liberty has scored 16 road goals, while allowing 16 road goals.

The Flames will enter Thursday's contest unbeaten in their last four contests (3-0-1) away from Lynchburg, Va.  Liberty defeated UNC Asheville, 3-0, on Oct. 28 and Gardner-Webb, 3-1, this past Sunday in road contest, while tying Radford, 0-0, and defeating Coastal Carolina, 2-1, on a neutral field last week.

Against the Big South
Liberty is 87-52-12 all-time in Big South regular season action.  The Flames have posted a .500 or better conference ledger in 20 out of their 23 seasons in the conference.  Besides this season, Liberty has won the Big South Championship and claimed the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship in 2007.

Liberty is 21-17-3 all-time in Big South Championship matches. The Flames have posted an 8-2-2 record at the tournament during the past five seasons, reaching the title game in 2007, 2009 and this season.

Phillips Big South Championship MVP
Liberty defender Chris Phillips was named the 2011 Big South Championship Most Valuable Player, this past weekend. The redshirt senior was an integral part Liberty's defense this past weekend, including holding the nation's top scoring team, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers to one goal in a 2-1 Flames' win, Friday in the semifinals.

Joining Phillips on the 2011 Big South All-Tournament squad were Flames midfielder Juan F. Niño, defender Greg White and goalkeeper Scott Sutarik.

Three Flames Named All-Big South First Team
Forward Darren Amoo, midfielder Phillip Aseweh and defender Uriah Bentick were named to the Big South all-conference first team. 

Amoo was selected to the first team for the third time, becoming the fourth player in program history to be named to the Big South all-conference team three times during his career. The forward joins Ben Strawbridge (1999-01), current Liberty assistant men's soccer coach Dean Short (1999-01) and Osei Telesford (2003, 2005-06).

Aseweh and Bentick were each selected to the team for the second consecutive season.

Liberty goalkeepers Scott Sutarik and Josh Pacella were named to the conference's all-freshmen team.

Amoo Sets New School Goal Mark
With a goal in the 72nd minute of Liberty's 3-1 win over Gardner-Webb in the Big South title game on Sunday, Darren Amoo became the program's all-time leading goal scorer with 37 career markers.

Entering last week's Big South Championship with 35 career goals, Amoo scored a goal in each of the Flames' victories over Coastal Carolina and Gardner-Webb to move into the top spot on the program's list.  The forward surpasses Darryl Roberts (2002-06) and James Wright (1992-94), who each scored 36 goals during their Liberty careers.

In addition, Amoo ranks third all-time in program annals with 83 career points. Roberts is Liberty's all-time leader in points, compiling 94 from 2002-06.

Phillips Selected to College Soccer News National Team
After being selected the 2011 Big South Tournament MVP, Liberty defender Chris Phillips was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for the week ending Nov. 13.

Phillips, a redshirt senior from Brownsburg, Ind., received the honor playing an integral part of Liberty's defense this past weekend, helping the Flames capture the 2011 Big South Championship.

Aseweh and Niño Move Up Career Helper Chart
Senior midfielder Phillip Aseweh, who finished the regular season tied for the Big South lead in assists, and fellow senior Juan F. Niño continue to climb up the Liberty career assist list. 

Aseweh 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 with two others in program history. Kian Brownlee (1996, 98-00) is the program's all-time assist leader with 27. In addition, Asweh has posted a single-season career-high eight assists in 2011, tying him for fourth on the Liberty single season list.

Fellow midfielder Juan F. Niño has also cracked the program's assist list this season.  The senior has 18 career assists, placing him seventh on Liberty's career helper list.

Marathon Men
Defenders and team captains Chris Phillips and Greg White have played 1774 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, who was named to the 2011 Big South all-tournament team, has started every game during his time in a Liberty uniform.  The redshirt junior drew his 58th consecutive starting assignment for Sunday's Big South title. White has been a regular starter in each of game during the past three seasons (2009-11), with his streak starting on Sept. 1, 2009 in a 10-1 Liberty victory over Concord.

Meanwhile, 2011 Big South Tournament MVP Phillips, a redshirt senior and two-time team captain, was in the Liberty starting 11 for the 61st time, Sunday. He has not been out of Liberty's starting 11 since Oct. 24, 2008.

The No Goal Zone
Until No. 9 Coastal Carolina scored in the 65th minute during the Flames' 2-1 victory this past Friday, Liberty had not allowed a goal over its previous 383:23. The span included two shutouts of Radford and a blanking of UNC Asheville.

It was the third time this season; Liberty has 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 Thursday match-up with eight shutouts, the most in the Big South this season.