Liberty women's soccer junior forward Crystal Elmers put a bow on an exciting regular-season, Tuesday afternoon, as the Lady Flames defeated Longwood at Osborne Stadium, 1-0.
With the Senior Day victory, Liberty clinches the Big South regular-season championship for the third time in program history and the first since 2009. The Lady Flames conclude the regular-season with a 12-4-1 overall record and an 8-1-1 mark in conference play. Liberty's eight conference victories tie the program record set by last year's championship squad.
With 37 seconds remaining in regulation, Elmers drove the length of the field and fired a 15-yard shot from the right side into the lower left corner. The game-winner marked Elmers' sixth goal of the season, making her the team leader heading into postseason play.
Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord picked up her conference-leading eighth shutout of the season, extending her program career record to 22. The netminder finished the contest with three saves. Longwood goalkeeper Hailey Machen also played the full contest, making seven saves.
Liberty outshot the Lancers, 17-8, including 8-4 on goal. The Lady Flames also held a 5-3 advantage on corner kicks.
Prior to the start of the contest, Liberty honored its four seniors – Maddie Boone, Alanna Dunkle, Helena Pereira and Rebeccah Smith.
During the first half, Pereira nearly put Liberty on the board in the 22nd minute. Dribbling inside the 18-yard box, the forward bent a shot toward the goal frame, which ricocheted off the right post.
Longwood's Teresa Frutcherman had a promising look on the other end, shooting on a seemingly open goal frame in the 35th minute. However, Jaime Bouffard ran parallel to the goal line and booted the ball out of play, ultimately keeping the contest scoreless at halftime.
In the second half, Liberty had another golden opportunity at a goal during the 76th minute. After a Jennifer Knoebel shot was blocked, Jordan Kestel followed up with one of her own, which bounced off the post. The contest remained a stalemate until Elmers displayed late-game heroics to seal the 1-0 victory.
Liberty now awaits the announcement of its opponent for the quarterfinals of the 2014 Big South Championship. The Lady Flames will host the tournament's No. 8 seed, Sunday at 2 p.m. Official seedings will be announced later tonight.