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Liberty Falls 2-1 in Big South Tournament

November 11, 2010  High Point, N.C.  RSS
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Darren Amoo scored his 12th goal of the year, Thursday.

Darren Amoo scored his 12th goal of the year, Thursday.

The No. 5 seed Radford Highlanders netted a goal in each half, downing the No. 4 seed Liberty Flames, 2-1, Thursday evening in the third game of the first round of the 2010 Big South Championship at Vert Stadium.

Liberty's season comes to a close, and the Flames finish the year with a 10-7-1 record. Radford, 7-8-3, advances to the Big South semifinals against the winner of the match between No. 1 seed High Point and No. 8 UNC Asheville, to be played later this evening.

After the two teams exchanged shots during the first 12 minutes, Liberty mounted a sustained attack in the 13th minute, setting up a shot for defender Uriah Bentick. However, Highlander goalkeeper Joey Dennis corralled the attempt.

In the following minute, a blocked clearing pass deflected to the top of the 18-yard box for Flames midfielder Richard Nyarko, who ripped a shot just wide of the far left post.

Radford took a 1-0 advantage at 23:24. Midfielder Luis Grande stepped in front of a Liberty clearing pass on the right side and lined a shot from 25 yards out inside the near post for his third goal of the year and an early lead.

The Highlanders looked to extend their lead in the 30th minute on a corner kick. The kick by midfielder Ryan Stinnett was headed toward the net by forward Carter Mills. Liberty goalkeeper Paul Gilbert was there and plucked the attempt out of the air to keep Radford from upping its advantage.

Liberty put pressure on the Highlander net in the closing minute of the half. Bentick found midfielder Thad Taylor with a corner kick on the left side of the box for a shot, which was blocked in front by a Radford defender. The loose ball came out to the top of the 18-yard area for Flames defender Greg White, who fired a shot high over the goal as the clock ran out in the opening period.

In an evenly played half, Liberty outshot Radford, 7-5, while the Highlanders held a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.

The Flames opened the second half by creating a scoring opportunity in the 48th minute. Working the ball in from the left side, Nyarko was able to head a crossing pass by defender Chris Osborne toward the near post, only to have Dennis make the stop.

In the 63rd minute, Radford doubled its advantage. Midfielder Brian Gwanzura gained the box and pushed a shot toward the far post, which Liberty defender Chris Osborne ran back to clear off the goal line. The clear hit off another defender and came free for Highlander Iyiola Awosika on the right side of the six yard box. The forward flicked the ball into the open left side for his 10th goal of the year, giving Radford a 2-0 lead.

Looking to close the gap in the final 12 minutes, the Flames pushed forward on the attack, attempting a flurry of shot during the final minutes. Sam Duininck began the rally with a shot from the right side, which Dennis stabbed out of the air to keep Liberty scoreless in the 78th minute. Midfielder Chris Phillips also launched a shot high in the 79th minute.

Liberty got on the scoreboard in the 89th minute. Forward Darren Amoo picked up an errant clearing pass and blasted his 12th goal of the year into the left side of the net for the final score of 2-1.

Shots were even in the contest at 13 each, while Radford held the edge in corner kicks, 6-3.

Gilbert made a season-high seven saves for Liberty. Dennis had six saves for Radford.