The Liberty women's soccer team received a stern test to start the 2016 campaign, playing host to No. 4 Virginia, Friday night at Osborne Stadium. The Cavaliers struck early, ultimately receiving goals from a quartet of players to pick up the 4-0 victory.
Virginia beings the season with a 1-0 mark, while the Lady Flames fall to 0-1. The Cavaliers now lead the all-time series 13-0.
Four different Cavaliers scored in the contest – midfielder Betsy Brandon, forward Meghan McCool, forward Taylor Ziemer and defender Meghan Cox. Defender Tina Iordanou and forward Alissa Gorzak were also credited with assists.
Liberty redshirt senior goalkeeper and Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Holly Van Noord spent over 73 minutes in goal, making six saves. Redshirt sophomore Tori Collar came in for the remainder of the contest. Morgan Stearns played in between the posts the full 90 minutes, finishing with two saves for the visitors.
Virginia outshot Liberty, 21-5, and held a 6-2 advantage on corner kicks.
The Cavaliers wasted little time, lighting up the scoreboard in the 13th minute. Iordanou sent a pass into the box for Brandon, who slipped it into the left corner for a 1-0 lead.
Liberty tried for the equalizer in the 26th minute. Sophomore defender Emily Pirro airmailed an attempt from the right side, but the shot was caught out of the air by Stearns, keeping the Lady Flames off the board.
McCool added a second goal less than a minute later. The forward scooped a loose ball at the top of the box and blasted into the net for a 2-0 advantage.
Defender Jordan Kestel tried once again to ignite the scoreboard for Liberty in the 44th minute. However, Stearns thwarted the attempt to give the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead at halftime.
In the second period, the Virginia defense held Liberty to just one shot. The Cavaliers third goal of the game came in the 67th minute, as Ziemer dribbled to the far side and fired a shot in front of Van Noord.
Cox capped off the night with Virginia's final marker in the 69th minute. Following a free kick from Gorzak, the senior completed the set piece with her first goal of the season to seal the 4-0 final.
The Lady Flames will head to Tennessee this weekend for a meeting with the Volunteers on Sunday. Last season, Liberty hosted the SEC member, playing to a scoreless draw at Osborne Stadium (Aug. 28, 2015). Game time for the rematch at Regal Soccer Stadium is slated for 5 p.m.