The Liberty women's soccer team reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the conference standings, Saturday afternoon at Osborne Stadium, defeating Coastal Carolina on Senior Day, 1-0.
With the victory in the Big South Conference match on Homecoming Weekend, Liberty (9-7-1, 7-2 Big South) clinches a top four seed for the 2015 Big South Women's Soccer Championship and will host a quarterfinal match. Coastal Carolina moves to 10-6-1 on the season and 6-1-1 in conference play.
Playing in her final home contest as a Lady Flame, senior captain Crystal Elmers scored the game-winning goal for Liberty. Sophomore forward Jennifer Knoebel and fellow senior captain Brittany Aanderud were each credited with an assist on the play. Knoebel's helper is her team leading seventh of the season.
Aanderud's assist gives her five on the season and 29 for her career. The midfielder extends her program mark and is now tied with former UMBC players Denise Schlite and Kasey Kruger (1993-95) for the Big South career assist record.
Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord played the entire 90 minutes, making eight saves to record her 30th career shutout. The netminder currently sits in second place all-time in the Big South annals, three shutouts shy of former Radford goalkeeper Che' Brown (33). Van Noord now leads the Big South in saves on the season with 101.
Coastal Carolina goalkeeper Becca Austin also played the full contest, making six saves.
In a tightly contested matchup, Liberty outshot the Chanticleers, 19-15. Coastal Carolina held a 7-4 advantage on corner kicks.
Prior to the contest, Liberty honored its six seniors – Brittany Aanderud, Jaime Bouffard, Elmers, Madison Kauzlarich, Alex Mack and Rebekah Page. The program also recognized its alumni during halftime.
Elmers lit up the scoreboard for the Lady Flames in the 11th minute. Aanderud lobbed the ball forward into the right side of the 18-yard box to Knoebel. The forward then sent a crossing pass in front of the goal frame to Elmers, who tapped it into the right corner for the 1-0 lead.
The Liberty defense managed to hold the Chanticleers to four shots in the first half, including two on goal to maintain its one-goal edge at halftime.
In the second period, Coastal Carolina turned up the intensity, placing six shots on goal during the half. However, Van Noord turned away each attempt. The Chanticleers outshot the Lady Flames in the stanza, 11-10.
During the 84th minute, Elmers nearly added another marker for Liberty, but Austin thwarted the shot to prevent the insurance goal.
Three minutes later, Van Noord collected her eighth and final save, stopping an attempt from Daniella Famili to set up the 1-0 final.
Liberty will close out the Big South regular-season slate on Tuesday, squaring off with Longwood in Farmville, Va. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.