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Longwood Advances Past Liberty on Penalty Kicks in BSC Quarterfinals
Stepping on the field as the No. 6 seed in the 2012 Big South Women's Soccer Championship, Liberty squared off with No. 3 seed Longwood, Saturday night, at the Longwood Athletics Complex.
After a Longwood early goal in the second period, Liberty answered with less than six minutes on the clock to send the contest into overtime tied at 1-1. With neither team finding the golden goal in the pair of extra periods, the contest went to a shootout, where Longwood advanced to the semifinals on penalty kicks, 3-0.
The Lady Flames conclude the season 11-7-3 overall. Liberty's win total ties the 2001 squad for third highest in program history. Longwood moves on in its first year in the league with a 13-6-2 record.
Goalkeeper Karen Blocker played the entire 110 minutes of the contest. The redshirt senior ends her career as Liberty's all-time shutout leader with 20, and with a program-best goals-against average of 1.33. She concludes her tenure No. 2 on the school's career saves list with 339.
Lindsey Ottavio posted Longwood's lone goal of the game. Casey Norris scored Liberty's game-tying goal, with Kelly Henion picking up the assist.
Liberty's defense stayed busy in the opening 20 minutes, with the Longwood attack applying heavy pressure. Despite the Lancers' offense occupying Liberty territory during much of the span, Longwood managed just two shots, each sailing wide of the net.
In the 29th minute, Liberty defender Maddie Boone attempted to put the Lady Flames on the board. The sophomore drove up the right side and fired a shot from 25 yards out. Backup goalkeeper Shelby Hall, who came in for starter Kyra Byron in the second minute, dove for the ball with her arms fully extended to deflect the blast. The netminder scooped up the ball before a Liberty attacker could follow up, keeping the contest scoreless.
After a shot by Longwood's Haylea Witz sailed just wide of the net in the 42nd minute, Boone struck again 46 ticks later. The defender booted a shot at the Lancers' net, which ricocheted off the crossbar. Boone's attempt was the last of the period, making it scoreless at halftime.
In the second period, two Lancer shots went wide of the net before Ottavio lit up the scoreboard in the 57th minute. The forward airmailed a shot from outside the top of the of the 18-yard box. The blast bounced off the crossbar and down into the goal, giving the Lancers a 1-0 advantage.
Longwood nearly added to its lead in the 65th minute. Midfielder Olivia Colella broke away from the Liberty defense, setting up a showdown with her and Blocker. The goalkeeper came out of net to challenge, deflecting Colella's attempt. Witz followed up off the rebound, but Boone was there to record the team save.
Brittany Aanderud nearly got the equalizer for Liberty in the 73rd minute. The midfielder fired a shot at the Longwood net, but Byron, who returned for the second period, tipped it up and over the net.
With time winding down, Liberty evened things up in the 85th minute. Heather Bentley lofted a long ball to Henion on the right side. A defender came out to challenge the forward, but she managed to send a crossing pass to Norris. The defender then sent a no-look shot off her heel into the left corner of the net, knotting the contest, 1-1.
Alana Mackey tried to play hero for the Lancers in the 88th minute, sending a shot at the Liberty net. Blocker made the grab, setting up overtime.
In the first overtime period, Longwood controlled much of the offensive action. The Lancers took three shots, all sailing wide of the net, giving way to the second overtime.
During the second overtime, Collela and Kelsey McDonald each took shots on goal, resulting in a pair of saves for Blocker. In the final minute, Liberty managed to move deep into Longwood territory, but was unable to set up a scoring opportunity, forcing a penalty kick shootout.
In the shootout, the Lancers connected on three of their four penalty kicks to advance, 3-0.
Longwood outshot Liberty in the contest, 18-7, and held a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks. Hall played 43:37 in goal for the Lancers, making one save. Byron was in the net for 66:23, finishing with one save.
The 2012 Big South Championship continues next week with semifinal matchups on Friday and the championship game, Sunday afternoon.