Senior midfielder Jonatan Torres and the Flames begin their 2013 campaign at Georgia State, Friday.
The Liberty Flames men's soccer team will travel to Atlanta, Ga., to open its 2013 campaign with a match at Georgia State, Friday afternoon at the GSU Soccer Complex. The contest will be the season opener for the both teams. Match time is scheduled for 4 p.m. The contest will begin the 39th year of Flames men's soccer and the 13th season under the guidance of Liberty alumnus head coach Jeff Alder (116-86-22, 12 seasons).
How to Follow the Flames Fans can follow Friday afternoon's match via LibertyFlames.com by clicking the live stats link under men's soccer in the schedule bar on the main page. Live stats are provided courtesy of the Georgia State Sports Communications Office.
A Look at Liberty The Liberty Flames hope to build upon last season's 6-1-3 finish, as they begin their 2013 campaign. The Flames return several key players from last season's 8-7-3 team, including six players which started 12 or more games. Among the returnees are two-time team captain, Sam Duininck, goalkeeper Scott Sutarik and last year's leading scorer Kyle Breitmeyer. The trio is joined by midfield returnees Tim Harbison, Juan Nino, Blessing Tahouna and Jonatan Torres. Last season, Breitmeyer earned all-conference and VaSID All-State second team honors. The forward compiled team-highs with 15 points and seven goals. Meanwhile, Sutarik, a two-year starter in goal for the Flames, posted a 1.13 goals-against average and five shutouts. For the 2013 campaign, Liberty will have to rely on underclassmen. 18 of Liberty's 25 players are either a sophomore or freshman.
Season Openers The Flames look to return to their winning ways in season openers, after coming up short in campaign lid lifters the past two years. Last season, Liberty fell to N.C. State at Osborne Stadium, 2-0, while IUPUI held off a second half charge by the visiting Flames for a 1-0 win in 2011. Liberty is 24-14 all-time in season openers and 7-5 during Alder's tenure.
A Look at Georgia State The Panthers, a former member of the Colonial Athletic Association, will be looking to improve upon last season's 6-12 record. Georgia State will be a Division I independent this season. The Panthers, coached by Brett Surrency (26-27, three years) return seven starters from last season. Among the key returnees for Georgia State is sophomore forward William Mellors-Blair, who was the team's second-leading scorer with 12 points last season. While the Panthers return all four starting defenders from 2012, they will have a new goalkeeper. Last season, Georgia State allowed 1.67 goals per game.
All-time Against Georgia State Friday night's meeting will be the third meeting between the Flames and the Panthers on the pitch, but the first since 1990. Liberty leads the all-time series, 1-0-1, as the two teams met in 1989 and 1990. The Flames won 1-0 at Georgia State in 1989, while playing to a 1-1 draw in Lynchburg in 1990.
Coming Up Big on the Road in 2012 The 2012 Flames had a strong season away from Lynchburg. Jeff Alder's squad posted a 5-0-1 road record. Liberty outscored its opponents, 14-7, in those outings.
Duininck's Answers Call Defender Sam Duininck enters Friday's match, having started every Liberty match the past two seasons. The two-time team captain has notched 38 consecutive starting assignments.
Breitmeyer Breaks Out Forward Kyle Breitmeyer became a consistent scoring threat for the Flames last season. Breitmeyer finished 2012, as Liberty's leading scorer with 15 points and goal scorer with seven. The forward scored at least one goal in four consecutive games from Oct. 5 to Oct. 23, posting his first career multi-goal game in 2-1 win at Presbyterian College on Oct. 12. Breitmeyer scored five of his seven goals in Big South Conference games, helping Liberty post a 6-1-3 conference record and go unbeaten over a nine-game stretch (6-0-3) to end the regular season.
A Look Ahead Liberty will open its 2013 home schedule on Sept. 6 against the IUPUI Jaguars. Match time at Osborne Stadium is slated for 6 p.m. The Flames will then take to the road for three-straight road contests, starting Sept.11 with a match at Wofford.
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