The No. 5 seed Liberty Flames saw their season come to end, falling to the No. 4 seed Winthrop Eagles, 4-1, in the Big South Men's Soccer Championship Quarterfinals, Tuesday evening.
Liberty forward Sachem Wilson scored his team-leading eighth goal of the year in the contest.
Liberty finished the year with an 11-6-1 overall record. Liberty completes its season with 10 or more wins in a season for the 18th year and the eighth under head coach Jeff Alder. Winthrop moves to 13-4 and advances to the Big South semifinals, Friday.
Liberty's best scoring opportunity of the first half came during the 36th minute. Off a free kick 16 yards from the end line on the left side of the field, defender Jaime Foxwell headed a ball lofted into the center of the 18-yard box, which Eagle goalkeeper Fabian Brioch tipped over the netted out of play.
Winthrop was then able to clear the ensuing corner kick, as the game remained scoreless.
Winthrop struck for the contest's first goal during the 38th minute. Two of the Eagles first team all-conference players combined to give the host team an advantage. Forward Max Habenstab sent a pass to midfielder Pol Sole on the right sideline. Pol inserted the ball back to Habenstab inside the 18-yard box for a shot which found the lower left corner of the goal. Winthrop's leading scorer gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead at 37:48.
Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik turned away a shot during the 42nd minute to keep the score at 1-0 headed into halftime. Sole gained the top left corner of the box and fired a rising shot, which the senior keeper deflected out. The Flames then cleared the ball to relieve pressure.
Winthrop extended its lead on Habenstab's second goal of the contest early in the second half. A pass forward into the top of the right corner of the box by Sam Schmidt was shot in stride from eight yards out at the near post by Habenstab for a 2-0 edge at 53:30.
Liberty looked to get on the scoreboard during the 65th minute. After an Eagle foul, Liberty received a free kick 35 yards out near the right sideline. The kick deflected around off several players, before coming free at the top of the box. Flames midfielder Alan Arellano pounced on the ball, pushing a shot which sailed high over the goal.
Winthrop pushed its lead to 3-0 at 66:13. Habenstab collected a free ball tipped by a defender inside the 18-yard box and scored his third goal of the game and 12th of the season.
Liberty pressure resulted in the Flames lone goal during the 74th. Midfielder Bay Kurtz took a pass forward by All-Big South first team defender Tim Harbison and sent a crossing pass into the center of the box. Wilson ripped a shot from straight on net for his team-leading eighth goal, cutting the Eagle advantage to 3-1 at 73:08.
Four minutes later, a Winthrop foul resulted in a free kick for Liberty from 25 yards out. The kick deflected off several defenders and came back out to midfielder Khalil Karl. Karl fired a shot which was blocked down in front of the Eagle goal by a defender and cleared.
Winthrop sealed the victory off a corner kick during the 85th minute. Magnus Thorsson scored his sixth goal of the year for what proved to be the final score of 4-1.
The Eagles held a 12-8 advantage in shots and a 5-3 edge in corner kicks in the contest.
Sutarik made two saves in his final game in a Liberty uniform. Broich recorded one save for Winthrop.