Isidoro Garcia moves past a High Point player, Wednesday evening.
The Liberty Flames saw their four-game winning streak come to an end, Wednesday night at High Point. The Panthers struck for two second half goals for a 2-0 win over the Flames at Vert Stadium in a Big South Conference match.
Liberty falls to 4-2 in Big South play and 9-4-1 overall. High Point improves to 5-1 in conference play and 7-6-5 overall. With their victory, the Panthers have won three straight contests.
The Flames gave up two goals in a match for the first time since a 2-1 loss at Campbell on Sept. 29. Liberty has only allowed two or more goals in a contest three times this season. In addition, it is only the second time in 2017 that the Flames have been shutout.
The host, Panthers' attack, garnered the first corner kick of the night during the ninth minute. On the corner, the Flames' defense sagged into the 18-yard box, taking away the shooting lanes, forcing a wild, high shot by Bana Ganidekam.
Liberty began to put pressure on the High Point defense over the next 10 minutes of play. Although the Flames came away with one shot during the span, the visitors made Panthers' goalkeeper Keegan Meyer handle the ball on several occasions.
After two crossing passes from the right sideline where both taken away by Meyer, a pass to the left post led to Liberty's first shot of the match. A cross by midfielder Alex Dominguez found Geovany Murillo free for an attempt during the 23rd minute, which Meyer corralled for the save.
Two minutes later, High Point came close to getting on the scoreboard. The Panthers had a corner kick fall at the feet of forward Jonathan Bolanos, who ripped a shot from the right side of the box off the far post. The Flames' defense quickly cleared the rebound.
A foul in the 38th minute provided Liberty with a free kick on the left side of the field from 30 yards out. Off the reset, forward Tresor Mbuyu lined a shot at net Meyer moved off his goal line and made the stop to keep the game scoreless.
While Liberty kept Meyer involved in the contest with three shots on goal in the half, Flames goalkeeper James Knoebel did not need to make a stop until 42nd minute of play. A ball lofted forward from midfield was headed towards the Liberty goal by midfielder Johnny Fenwick. Knoebel moved forward into the box and caught the shot in mid-air, as the half ended without a score.
High Point broke through for the match's first goal during the opening minutes of the second half. After a Liberty foul set up a free kick for the Panthers 25 yards from the goal near the left sideline during the 54th minute, midfielder Ryan Inman scored his second goal of the year off the ensuing kick for a 1-0 edge.
Keeping on the attack, High Point forward Siggi Benonysson came free for a shot during the 56th minute. His shot from just above the box was smothered by Knoebel to keep the Flames' deficit to one.
Liberty came close to finding the equalizer during the 70th minute. Midfielder Kevin Mendoza found himself in open space for a shot from the right side of the field from 20 yards out. However, his rising liner hit the crossbar and bounded over.
After the Mendoza attempt, Liberty began to control possession. During the 75th minute, the Flames garnered a corner kick. Midfielder Reuben Garcia placed the ball into the center of the box, but two High Point defenders were able to get the ball and clear.
High Point extended its lead during the 82nd minute. Slowing the pace, Bolanos sent a pass across the top of the box to right corner for Ebe Kudolo, who tucked a shot into the near side for his second goal of the year and a 2-0 Panthers' lead.
Liberty tried to cut into the High Point lead during the 85th minute. Moving players forward, the Flames' attack garnered a corner kick, which the Panthers cleared.
High Point edged Liberty, 10-9, on shots in the contest. However, the Flames held a 5-3 advantage on shots on goal. The Panthers had a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Liberty's Knoebel recorded three saves, while High Point's Meyer also made three saves.
The Flames return home Saturday for a Big South Conference match against the Winthrop Eagles. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Osborne Stadium. Before the contest, the Flames will recognize their six seniors as part of Senior Night activities.
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