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Lady Flames Use Cheek's Early Goal To Upend Birmingham-Southern, 1-0
Paige Cheek headed in a corner kick less than nine minutes into the match and the Liberty Lady Flames made it stand-up for a 1-0 victory over the Birmingham-Southern Panthers in Big South women's soccer action, Saturday afternoon, at BSC Soccer Park.
Off their second corner kick of the game, Liberty scored the match's lone goal when Cheek (Jr., D, Gambrills, Md.) headed the ball into the net off a corner kick from the left side by Rachel Bendzlowicz (Sr., MF, Council Rock, Pa.) at the 8:33 mark. The goal is Cheek's first of her collegiate career.
Birmingham-Southern had several opportunities to gain the equalizer, especially in the second half, but was unable to connect.
Goalkeeper Sonia Rodriguez (Sr., Fairfax, Va.) grabbed two saves in the Lady Flames' net as she recorded her second shutout of the season. Senior keeper Andria Gray, who played the first half for the Panthers, grabbed two saves, while freshman Tina Ross came in for the second half, but did not face any shots on goal.
The Liberty out shot Birmingham-Southern in the first half, 6-4, but the Panthers held the second-half advantage, 7-4. Junior Brittney Jones led Birmingham-Southern with three shots, and Cheek led Liberty with three as well.
With the win, the Lady Flames move to 7-6-2 overall and 4-3 in the Big South Conference, while the Panthers drop to 6-9-1 overall and 2-4 in league play.
"This was probably our best all-around performance of the season and certainly in conference, "stated Liberty head coach James Price. "It's huge for us to come to Birmingham and get a win on such a long trip."
"Sonia didn't have to make a lot of saves, but the one's she did, she was very sharp on," commented Price. "This shutout gives her a lot of confidence and see didn't make a mistake all day."
Liberty steps out of conference play Monday as the Lady Flames travel to Washington, D.C. to square off with the Howard Bison. Game time is set for 6 p.m.