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Defending Big South Champion Flames Host N.C. State to Open 2012
The defending Big South Champion Liberty Flames men's soccer team will host the N.C. State Wolfpack, Friday evening at Osborne Stadium. The contest will be the season opener for both teams. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The contest will begin the 38th year of Liberty soccer and the 12th season under the guidance of head coach Jeff Alder.
How to Follow the Flames
Friday evening's match will be video streamed LIVE. The feed will be available for a nominal fee on the Big South Network. The broadcast will be available on the World Wide Web at both LibertyFlames.com and BigSouthSports.com.
In addition, Live Stats powered by Gametracker will be available for Friday night''s contest via LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link under men's soccer in the schedule bar on the main page.
A Look at Liberty
The Liberty Flames, coached by Jeff Alder (108-79-19, 11 seasons), captured the 2011 Big South title, en route to an 11-6-3 record. With the mark, Liberty recorded its fifth consecutive season with a double-digit win total.
Liberty will be looking to replace five players from last year's team who have gone on to play in the professional ranks. The Flames return five starters from 2011's Big South Championship team in Scott Sutarik, Sam Duininck, Greg White, Uriah Bentick, a two-time Big South first team and all-region team defender, and Richard Nyarko. The group helped Liberty lead the Big South Conference in fewest goals allowed (0.95 per game) and shutouts (9) last season.
Goalkeeper Sutarik ranked seventh in the nation and led the Big South with a 0.56 goals-against average as a freshman. He also led the conference in save percentage and had six shutouts, tying him for the most in Big South despite starting only 10 games.
The Big South men's soccer head coaches picked the Flames to finish in fourth place this season in the conference's preseason poll.
After outscoring opponents, 38-19, in 2011, Liberty will be looking to find a new scoring punch, as six of its 11 goal scorers from last year have graduated.
The Flames look to return to their winning ways in season openers, after having a five-match streak snapped at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Ind., last season. IUPUI held off a second half charge by the Flames for a 1-0 win.
Liberty is 24-13 all-time in season openers and 7-4 during head coach Jeff Alder's tenure.
The Flames have won at home in four consecutive season starters. The last time Liberty opened a campaign at home, it defeated Bluefield, 6-0, in 2010.
A Look at N.C. State
The N.C. State Wolfpack went 7-11 in their first season under head coach Kelly Findlay in 2011.
Findlay's squad returns eight starters from last season, including midfielder Nazami Albadawi, who led the Wolfpack with nine goals and 21 points.
Also returning for N.C. State is goalkeeper Fabian Otte. The junior started 19 games for the Wolfpack in 2011, posting a 1.65 goals-against average and six shutouts.
Of its 10 players to score a goal in 2011, N.C. State returns eight. However, besides Albadawi, only forward Zabarle Kollie, who had two goals, tallied more than one goal. Kollie also led the Wolfpack in assists with four.
Last season, N.C. State was outscored by opponents, 36-22, and posted a 5-5-2 record in nonconference games.
All-time Against N.C. State
Friday night's meeting will be the fourth meeting between the Flames and the Wolfpack and the first since 2002. The all-time series is even at 1-1-1.
The Wolfpack edged the Flames, 2-1, in the last match between the two squads on Nov. 6, 2002 in Raleigh, N.C.
Alder Garners Win 100th
Liberty head coach Jeff Alder captured his 100th career coaching win with a 2-0 victory over No. 10 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Sept. 13 last season. His teams have averaged 9.8 wins per season during his 11 seasons as head coach.
With their 11—win season in 2011, the Flames have posted five consecutive 10-plus win seasons for the first time in program history. The run of double-digit wins began with a 13-5-1 record in 2007, the most victories in a season during his tenure, during the Flames' run to their first ever Big South title. Liberty has recorded a 56-28-12 ledger during the past five season.
The streak eclipses four double-digit victory seasons from 1996 through 1999 under head coach Bill Bell. Liberty was 49-18-4 during that span.
Defender and team captain Greg 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 senior has notched 59 consecutive starting assignments for the Flames.
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. Last season, he played every minute in each of Liberty's contests for the Flames.
Since becoming the home of the Flames in 2009, Liberty has posted a 17-4-2 at Osborne Stadium. Last season, the Flames recorded a 5-1-1 mark at the facility.
Liberty is 55-23-4 at home during head coach Jeff Alder's 11-year tenure, including an 8-0-1 mark in 2009.
A Look Ahead
Liberty takes to the road for its first Big South Conference contest of the year. The Flames will face new conference member Longwood on Sept. 1 at the Longwood Athletics Complex. Match time is 7 p.m.