Aimee Luurtsema tied school records for most goals and points in a game on Wednesday, finishing with four and nine, respectively.
A banner day for Aimee Luurtsema allowed the Liberty women's soccer team to bounce back from a three-game skid, Wednesday afternoon. Playing in their second-to-last contest of the regular season, the Lady Flames hosted UNC Asheville at Osborne Stadium, besting the Bulldogs, 6-3. Luurtsema shook up the program record books, finishing with four goals, one assist and nine points. The junior's quartet of tallies ties Nancy Davis' facility record, which was originally set against Howard on Nov. 4, 1999. Luurtsema's goal and point total also tie program records for most goals and points in a single contest. Luurtsema joins Davis, Robin Ingalls and Jenice Oliveras as the only Lady Flames to score four goals in a game. Ingalls is also the only other player in school history to post nine points in a contest. Along with Luurtsema's efforts, forward Maria Owen finished with one goal and two assists to up her career totals in goals (16) and points (42). The senior captain is now fifth all-time at Liberty in both categories. With the win, Liberty improves to 6-10-2 overall and 3-5 in the Big South, while UNC Asheville falls to 1-15 on the season and 0-8 in conference play. Luurtsema kick-started the Liberty offense in the eighth minute after receiving a pass from midfielder Madison Short. Liberty's leading scorer beat the UNC Asheville defender down the right side and placed it in the center of the opposing net to give the Lady Flames the early 1-0 lead. Short's helper was her seventh of the season, tying her for second all-time with Cheryl (Williams) Jones (1999) and Emily Shubin (2001) for most assists in a season by a Lady Flame. In the 21st minute, Luurtsema returned the favor, sending a crossing pass to Short, who tapped it in from close range for her second goal of the season, making it 2-0, Liberty. Asheville responded nearly three minutes later to slice the Lady Flames' advantage in half. Midfielder Leilani Halkiotis lofted a shot from 25 yards out, which sailed over goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt and into the Liberty net to make it 2-1. Halkiotis knotted the contest at two in the 34th minute, cleaning up the rebound after a deflection off Nyholt to even the score. Luurtsema resurfaced in the 36th minute, receiving a pass from Owen and finishing on the play to regain the lead for Liberty, 3-2. Less than six minutes later, Asheville answered once again, as forward Amanda Knapp connected from close range off a corner kick, resulting in a 3-3 stalemate at halftime. In the second stanza, the Owen-Luurtsema connection returned. Following a pass from Ashley Nyholt, Owen sent a crossing pass to Luurtsema, who made a sliding play to give Liberty the 4-3 lead and record her second hat trick of the season. After delivering two helpers, it was Owen's turn to light up the scoreboard. In the 83rd minute, midfielder Jordan Woody passed it to Owen, who broke away from the Asheville defender and fired a shot into the net to increase Liberty's advantage, 5-3. Luurtsema capped off Liberty's scoring with 1:44 remaining in the contest. Defender Heather Bentley passed it to the left wing for Lauren Stell, who sent a crossing pass to Luurtsema. The Grandville, Michigan native finished the play from close range to earn the milestone and the 6-3 victory. Liberty outshot UNC Asheville 23-9 in the contest, while both teams had five corner kicks. Nyholt remained between the posts for Liberty during the entire contest, recording six saves. UNC Asheville netminder Megan Dent also played the entire contest, collecting 11 saves. The Lady Flames close out the regular season on Friday at Osborne Stadium, playing host to Presbyterian College. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.