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No. 2 seed Liberty Shuts out No. 7 seed UNC Asheville, 4-0

October 30, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Devon Jones scored a goal and had an assist in Sunday's victory.

Devon Jones scored a goal and had an assist in Sunday's victory.

The No. 2 seed Liberty Lady Flames set a new program record with their sixth consecutive shutout, a 4-0 Big South Quarterfinal victory over the No. 7 seed UNC Asheville Bulldogs, Sunday at Osborne Stadium.

Liberty's sixth consecutive clean sheet surpasses five-straight shutouts each by the 2009 and 2013 teams. The Lady Flames have not allowed a goal in their last 583:57 of play and as a team, have posted nine shutouts this season.

With the win, defending Big South Champion Liberty, 12-7, advances to the conference semifinals against No. 3 seed Campbell at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday. Campbell was a 2-0 winner over No. 6 seed Radford on Saturday.

UNC Asheville's season comes to an end with an 8-12 mark.

Jennifer Knoebel, Isabella Habuda, Devon Jones and Erika Troutman each scored goals in the Liberty victory.

Liberty controlled play during the match's opening half and came close to taking an early advantage during the 11th minute. Jones picked up a loose ball in front of the goal and chipped a shot off the left goalpost. Staying with the ball, the forward got another chance, steering the rebound to the center of the net, but Bulldogs goalkeeper Keller Dixon prevented the goal, smothering the shot at the goal line.

The host Lady Flames grabbed the lead with their first goal of the contest during the 36th minute. Big South All-Conference midfielder Habuda stepped in front of a UNC Asheville clearing attempt and moved into the left side of the 18-yard box, feeding a pass to all-conference forward Knoebel at the near post. Knoebel settled the ball and ripped it into the open net for her fifth goal of the year and a 1-0 edge.

During the 44th minute of a play, the 2016 Big South Defender of the Year, Holly Van Noord, kept Liberty in front. After a hand ball inside the box by a Liberty defender, Van Noord deflected the ensuing penalty kick by Paige Trent away from the top left corner of the net to prevent a score. Then, Liberty cleared a corner kick, sending the contest to halftime.

The higher seeded Lady Flames struck just minutes into the second half for a 2-0 advantage. All-conference defender Sami Santos lifted a corner kick into the center of the 18-yard box, where it was headed down by Jones. The loose ball came down at the feet of Habuda, who lined a shot into the top of the net for her team-leading eighth goal of the year.

Jones extended the Liberty lead 2:20 later. 2016 Big South Freshman of the Year Gabrielle Farrell ran down a loose ball near the left sideline and inserted it into the box towards the left post for Jones. In stride, the forward punched the ball in for her sixth goal of the season and a 3-0 lead.

Senior Troutman completed the Liberty scoring during the 83rd minute. Midfielder Abigail Persson carried the ball into the left side of the box and slid it into the front of the net at the left post. Troutman settled the ball and scored her second of the year for what proved to be the final score of 4-0.

Liberty outshot Asheville, 20-3, while not allowing a Bulldogs' shot during the second half. Corner kicks were even at 4-4.

Van Noord made two saves in the contest, before leaving for Tori Collar during the 73rd minute. Collar did not have to make a save. UNC Asheville's Dixon completed the match with eight saves.