Madison Short and the Lady Flames dropped a 5-0 decision at Radford Friday evening.
Looking to bounce back from a tough home loss to defending Big South champion High Point last Saturday, the Liberty women's soccer team stepped onto the field of Radford's Patrick D. Cupp Memorial Stadium for a Commonwealth clash with the Highlanders, Friday night. Unfortunately for the Lady Flames, the Highlanders, who were coming off a two-game skid, took advantage of early opportunities, ultimately earning a 5-0 decision. With the defeat, Liberty falls to 5-9-2 overall and 2-4 in conference play. Radford improves to 10-6-1 on the season and 4-2-1 in the Big South. The Highlanders struck first, finding the net in the fourth minute of the contest. A corner kick by midfielder Sydney Golden resulted in a broken play inside the box. Forward Kathryn Johnson took advantage of the situation, tapping in the loose ball from a yard out to give Radford a 1-0 edge. The hosting Highlanders were able to extend their lead in the 26th minute, when forward Latrice Lee attempted a crossing pass from the right side. The pass attempt turned into an advantage for the Highlanders, as the ball deflected off the foot of a Liberty defender and into the net for an own goal. The incidental tally made it 2-0 in favor of the home team. Just before the end of the opening period, midfielder Maggie Woody belted a shot from 25 yards out. However, the shot went wide, allowing Radford to hold onto its two-goal advantage at halftime. In the second period, Laura Nyholt attempted to help Liberty overcome its deficit, firing a shot at the Radford net. But Highlanders goalkeeper Che' Brown corralled the shot to keep Liberty scoreless. In the 65th minute, Radford tacked on another goal to make it 3-0. Lee netted the marker for the Highlanders, after receiving a long pass upfield from fellow forward Julie Ruh'e. Ashley Nyholt came out to challenge the attempt, but Lee made the adjustment, belting a shot from just inside the 18-yard box for the finish. Ruh'e helped the Highlanders pick up their fourth goal four minutes later on a corner kick. Midfielder Kathleen Johnson took advantage of the feed by Ruh'e, netting her first goal of the season to make it 4-0. With 33 ticks left in the contest, Megan Rhodes took a shot on the Liberty net. Nyholt batted it down for the save, but Rhodes followed up on the rebound, tapping it in for the 5-0 final. Radford outshot Liberty, 14-10, and held a 10-4 advantage in corner kicks. Nyholt remained in between the posts for the Lady Flames the entire contest, recording two saves, while Brown made three stops on the night, en route to her seventh shutout of the season. The Highlanders remain at Patrick D. Cupp Memorial Stadium for a Sunday afternoon tilt with High Point. Game time is set for 2 p.m. The Lady Flames stay on the road this weekend, travelling to Lexington, Va., Sunday to take on VMI. Game time at VMI's Patchin Field is slated for 1 p.m.