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Birmingham-Southern Rides First Half Goals to Win Over Liberty

September 30, 2006  Birmingham, Ala.  RSS
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Joshua Boateng

Joshua Boateng

Trailing 2-0, Liberty's Joshua Boateng's goal in the 64th minute sliced Birmingham-Southern's lead to 2-1, but the Flames could not get any closer. The Panthers netted two first half goals on their way to a 3-1 win over Liberty, Saturday afternoon in Big South men's soccer action at BSC Soccer Park.

With the setback, Liberty falls to 2-3 in Big South Conference play and 4-4 overall, while Birmingham-Southern improves its conference mark to 1-0-1 and now sits at 4-5-1 overall.

Despite being outshot by the Flames, 7-3 in the first half, the Panthers would make the most of their opportunities.

Birmingham-Southern struck early in the contest, scoring the match's first goal in the game's 12th minute. Stefan Haben scored his first goal of the season off a free kick from Gino Cozzolino for a 1-0 lead.

Cozzolino added the Panthers' second goal of the first half in the 24th as he headed in a crossing pass from Norman Baer.

Meanwhile, Liberty put five of its shots on net in the period, forcing goalkeeper Joseph Anthony to make four saves and the Panthers to make a team save to keep the Flames off the scoreboard.

With Birmingham-Southern holding a 2-0 lead at halftime, Liberty went on the offensive to open the second half.  Over the first 20 minutes of period, the Flames out shot the Panthers, 6-1.  Liberty capped the span by cutting the deficit in half as Boateng (So., MF, Accra, Ghana) got free and put home a pass from Brandon Patterson (Jr., MF, Lakeland, Fla.) in the 64th minute.  It was midfielder's second of the season.

Three minutes later, the Flames' momentum was stopped when they were whistled for a hand ball in the penalty box. Cozzolino put home the penalty kick for his fourth goal of the season and second of the game to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead in the 67th minute.

 Liberty tried to rally down, but was unable to close the gap as the teams traded shots throughout the final minutes of play.

On the afternoon, Liberty held a 17-13 shot advantage, while the corner kicks were even at four apiece.

 Joseph Anthony made six saves, including a diving save late in the game to preserve the Panthers' lead. Kevin Mahan (Sr., GK, Waterford, Mich.) made three saves for Liberty.

Birmingham-Southern's Haben led all players with five shots in the contest, while Toby Lewis (Jr., F, Morrison, Colo.) and Juan Guzman (Fr., MF, Charlotte, N.C.) led the Flames with three apiece.

Liberty now travels to Charlottesville, Va. on Tuesday night to square off with the #5 Virginia Cavaliers.  Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.