The Liberty women's soccer team ended the week against one of the nation's best teams in No. 10 Virginia. The Lady Flames were able to hold the Cavaliers scoreless for nearly two-thirds of the match but two goals from UVA in the latter part of the second half gave the Cavaliers a 2-0 win over Liberty, Sunday afternoon.
"Virginia is a team that in any given year can win a national title so it is a privilege to come here and play them," head coach Lang Wedemeyer said. "I thought our girls played hard and when you play a team like UVA they make you raise your level of play and intelligence and this was good for our team."
Coach Wedemeyer was able to play 21 players against UVA, including freshman Cora Duininck, who got her first career start on the Lady Flames' backline. Liberty played in front of 1,567 which is the biggest crowd they've seen this season. For the second straight game, Liberty's goalkeeper Tori Collar came up with a season-high six saves, with Virginia attempting 25 shots.
While the Lady Flames (0-2-2) struggled to generate an offensive attack, the backline was sharp as it was able to withstand the Cavaliers' attack and limit shots on goal. Even though UVA (3-0-0) was able to control possession during the first 45 minutes of play, Liberty held UVA to just three shots on goal. When called upon, Collar kept coming up with saves and none bigger in the 31st minute. Virginia's Courtney Petersen was able to make her way down the left side of the box for a shot near-post. Collar was able to make a quick read and come up with the save to go into halftime scoreless.
Coming out in the second half, Virginia looked to jump on the scoreboard quick with seven shot attempts in the first five minutes of the half. Liberty's defense was on its heels but didn't break, not allowing a goal during that time. Collar continued to come up big in goal with multiple saves in front of goal. In the 50th minute, UVA was able to get a header on goal off a corner kick but Collar would make a diving save followed by another five minutes later. As the ball bounced around the box off a corner kick, UVA's Veronica Latsko fired off a shot from five-yards out but Collar would come up with a clutch save.
Liberty would get its first shot attempt in the 57th minute from Devon Jones with a shot on goal from 25-yards out. The Cavaliers finally broke through in the 64th minute off a Taryn Torres goal to give UVA the 1-0 lead. Once UVA scored, Liberty looked to even the score and came close to tying the match in the 72nd minute. As Liberty was able to build an attack from the midfield, the Lady Flames crossed the ball into the box where Jordan Kestel placed a header on goal from 10-yards out forcing UVA's Laurel Ivory to reach near the crossbar to prevent a goal. Virginia would seal the game by adding a goal in the 81st minute from Montana Sutton to complete the 2-0 win over Liberty.
"Even at the end we had a great chance to tie the game," Wedemeyer added. "Today showed that we can always be in it and a team's fortune can be turned on the flip of a dime."
Liberty will conclude its four-match road trip next week as they travel to Florida to take on FAU and Florida Gulf Coast beginning on Sept. 1 in Ft. Myers.