Sitting atop the Big South standings, the Liberty women's soccer team played host to Gardner-Webb, Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Lady Flames, the visitors took advantage of a free kick in the first period to pick up the 1-0 victory.
With the defeat, Liberty falls to 7-7-1 overall and 5-2 in the Big South. Gardner-Webb moves to 5-8-3 on the year and 2-4-1 in conference play. Liberty sees its 14-game unbeaten streak at Osborne Stadium come to an end.
Tara Woelfel posted the lone goal for the Runnin' Bulldogs, netting her first goal of the year.
Liberty goalkeeper Holly Van Noord played the entire 90 minutes, finishing with two saves. Gardner-Webb netminder Keely Brown closed out the contest with five saves.
Despite the loss, Liberty outshot Gardner-Webb, 19-6, and held a 12-0 advantage on corner kicks.
Liberty began the period with four shots on goal. Freshman midfielder Alyssa Hill took three of the four attempts for the Lady Flames, all of which resulted in saves for Brown. In the 24th minute, senior midfielder Brittany Aanderud bent a long shot from outside the 18-yard box toward the Gardner-Webb goal frame. However, Brown was there once again to thwart the attempt
Woelfel lit up the scoreboard for the Runnin' Bulldogs in the 28th minute. Following a foul, the forward lined up for a free kick outside the 18-yard box on the left side. Woelfel then bent a shot over the head of Van Noord and into the net for the 1-0 lead, ultimately giving the visitors the advantage at halftime.
In the second period, the Lady Flames outshot Gardner-Webb, 12-4, but were unable to find the net. Liberty had its best chance for the equalizer in the 67th minute. With Brown outside of the goal frame, freshman forward Devon Jones received a past and chipped a close range shot at the net. A Gardner-Webb defender cleared the ball away for the team save. Hill picked up the loose ball and followed up with a shot of her own, but the attempt was blocked.
Liberty ended the period with three more shots that were blocked, setting up the 1-0 final.
The Lady Flames hit the road again on Wednesday for a matchup against Winthrop. Game time is set for 6 p.m.