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Flames-Runnin' Bulldogs Play to Scoreless Draw
The Liberty Flames continued their unbeaten streak by tying the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, 0-0, Saturday afternoon in a Big South men's soccer match at Osborne Stadium.
The tie extends Liberty's unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2). The Flames have not lost in the month of October.
Liberty moves to 5-1-2 in Big South Conference play and 7-6-2 overall. Gardner-Webb now stands at 2-4-2 in the conference and 3-12-2 overall. It was the first meeting between the two squads since the Flames defeated the Runnin' Bulldogs, 3-1, in the title game at the 2011 Big South Championship to claim the league crown.
The two squads exchanged shots during the opening minutes, forcing saves by both goalkeepers. A header of a crossing pass by Liberty's Sam Duininck was grabbed by Gardner-Webb keeper Scott Krotee during the third minute, while a shot by Runnin' Bulldog forward Chris Davis during the sixth minute was turned away by Flames netminder Scott Sutarik.
After Davis' shot, Liberty went on the attack, firing off seven unanswered shots over next 30 minutes. During the span, Krotee made four saves, keeping the Flames off the scoreboard.
Gardner-Webb countered during the 40th minute. A pass in transition put defender Jon Ole Reinhardsen into space for a shot 20 yards out, which he kicked high over the goal.
A minute later, Runnin' Bulldog Matt Bogart headed a corner kick high, sending the contest to intermission scoreless.
Neither team was able to mount an attack during the second half until the 65th minute. Off a crossing, Liberty midfielder Sachem Wilson's header hit the crossbar and ricocheted out. Flames forward Kyle Breitmeyer pushed a header towards the open near side of the Gardner-Webb goal, but Krotee dove out an deflected the ball away with an outstretched hand.
The loose ball came back to Breitmeyer, who dribbled around a defender and lifted a shot for the lower right corner of the net. However, Krotee kept the ball out of net, deflecting it clear of the goal.
Three minutes later, Liberty generated another scoring chance. On a corner kick, Wilson came free near the far right post, but slid a shot just wide.
Gardner-Webb midfielder John Sargent found room for a shot from 25 yards out during the 86th minute, firing a shot high.
The half closed with the Runnin' Bulldogs getting a chance on a corner kick, but the Flames were able to clear as the clock ran out in regulation.
Gardner-Webb had the only shot in the first overtime, as Marius Hammersmark pushed a free kick wide from 25 yards out.
In the second overtime, Liberty manufactured two chances. A shot by Tyler Bullock during the 104th minute went high. Breitmeyer side-stepped a defender and ripped a shot near the top of the 18-yard box in the 108th minute high.
Liberty outshot Gardner-Webb in the contest, 15-7, and held a 9-5 advantage in corner kicks.
Sutarik made one save and recorded his four shutout of the year. Krotee stopped six shots for his fourth shutout of the season.
Liberty travels to Radford for a Big South match with the Highlanders, Tuesday evening. The match at Cupp Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m.