The Liberty women's soccer team stepped on to the field at CCU Soccer Stadium, Friday night, looking to sew up the No. 1 seed in the 2014 Big South Championship. Unfortunately the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers had other plans, as leading scorer Kacey Kelley netted a goal in the opening half to take the contest, 1-0.
With its first defeat in Big South action, this season, Liberty is now 11-4-1 overall and 7-1-1 in conference play. The Lady Flames' remain atop the conference standings, but their program-record 10-game unbeaten streak comes to an end. Coastal Carolina moves to 9-7-2 and 6-2-1 in the Big South. Liberty goalkeeper Holly Van Noord played the entire 90 minutes in the between the posts, making five stops. Becca Austin also played the full contest in net for the Chanticleers, finishing with three saves. Liberty outshot Coastal Carolina, 13-10. The Chanticleers held a slight 3-2 advantage on corner kicks.
Kelley lit up the scoreboard for the Chanticleers in the 23rd minute. The forward scooped up a loose ball inside the box and ripped a shot to the top of the net for the 1-0 lead.
The Lady Flames picked up the intensity during the remainder of the half. Freshman forward Jennifer Knoebel nearly found the equalizer in the 35th minute after a feed into the 18-yard box, but the close-range attempt sailed just wide of the net.
The Coastal Carolina defense managed to keep the Liberty attack at bay for the remainder of the period to maintain the 1-0 advantage at halftime.
In the second period, Coastal Carolina's Christina Stern broke away from the Liberty defense and fired a shot on the Lady Flames' net. Van Noord made a diving play to deflect the attempt, preventing the home team from upping its advantage.
Elmers attempted to garner the equalizing goal in the 75th minute, swinging a shot from the far side toward the Coastal Carolina net. Austin corralled the shot to keep the Lady Flames off the board.
Stern and Van Noord matched up again in the 79th minute. Stern drove inside the 18-yard box and shipped a shot that redirected off a Liberty defender. Van Noord quickly changed directions and tipped the ball over the cross bar.
The Lady Flames made one final push in the closing seconds thanks to the efforts of Maddie Boone, but the Chanticleers held off the attack en route to the 1-0 final.
Liberty concludes the 2014 regular season at Osborne Stadium when they play host to Longwood, Tuesday at 3 p.m. Before the matchup, the Lady Flames will honor its four seniors – Maddie Boone, Alanna Dunkle, Helena Pereira and Rebeccah Smith.