Liberty women's soccer scored two goals in its attempt to come from behind against Florida Gulf Coast but it wasn't enough as the Eagles scored a late goal to defeat Liberty, 3-2.
The Lady Flames end the week 1-1 at the FGCU Tournament and fall to 1-3-2 overall while FGCU improves to 5-1. Liberty had two quality goals from Abigail Persson and Sierra Lam to tie the game as Liberty outshot FGCU, 11-10, with both teams attempting six shots on goal. It was a physical game, as both teams combined for 29 fouls. After a slow start on offense, Liberty's second-half attack was exceptional, outshooting FGCU, 10-3, in the second half.
As both teams were coming off a win in their first game of the tournament, Sunday's game started slow on offense with both teams feeling each other out. Only one shot was attempted in the first 17 minutes of action. Florida Gulf Coast converted off a free kick to take an early 1-0 lead in the 19th minute. Off a foul by Liberty's Hill, FGCU had a free kick from five yards outside the box. FGCU's Marjori Boilesen scored by shooting over the wall and into the upper right 90 to take a 1-0 lead.
After a water break in the 24th minute in the first half, FGCU struck a minute later with a goal from Meaghan Mulligan as the Eagles took a 2-0 lead. The Eagles were controlling the possession, attempting the first seven shots of the game.
Liberty was looking for a spark, trailing by two goals and Persson provided that spark off the bench in a big way with her first goal of the season. As FGCU had the momentum, Persson calmed the storm and cut the Eagles' lead in half with a screamer of a goal from 25 yards out in the 38th minute. Persson's goal was the only shot Liberty attempted in the first half, while FGCU attempted seven shots, including four on goal. As the weather played a factor once again, Wedemeyer made 10 substitutions in the first half, looking to get fresh bodies on the field.
It took 12 minutes into the second half until a player attempted a shot, and Liberty's Jennifer Knoebel came close to tying the game. Catching FGCU off the counter, Knoebel found herself down the right flank where Knoebel fired off a shot going far post but FGCU's goalkeeper, Melissa Weck, reached for a diving save to keep the game 2-1. Less than a minute later, Florida Gulf Coast had a quality look at goal as Varin Ness went one-on-one with Melody Jayroe and the Liberty goalkeeper left her line to break up Ness' shot.
The Lady Flames began to pick up its offensive attack with three shot attempts in a four minute span as Knoebel had two shots on goal. After continuing to press on offense, Liberty provided the equalizer in the 77th minute. After receiving a free kick from 30-yards out, Liberty's Lam converted with an absolute laser going in the upper 90 to tie the game. FGCU quickly responded with a goal of its own coming from Holly Fritz to put FGCU up 3-2 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Liberty will return to Lynchburg for its second home game of the season on Thursday against UMBC at Osborne Stadium, with opening kickoff set for 6 p.m.
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