The Liberty women's soccer team opened Big South Conference play with a victory, defeating Coastal Carolina, 1-0, Thursday night at Osborne Stadium.
With the win, the Lady Flames pick up their third-straight victory, moving to 4-3-2 overall and 1-0 Big South. Coastal Carolina falls to 0-9-1 overall and 0-1 Big South.
Silvia Betancourt netted the game-winning goal for the Lady Flames thanks to a Maddie Boone assist to garner the 22nd goal of her collegiate career. Betancourt now has 52 career points, giving her sole possession of third place all-time in the Liberty record books. Boone's assist was the first of her collegiate career.
Liberty outshot Coastal Carolina in the first half, 4-3, with neither team finding the mark. The Chanticleers fired off all three of their shots in the opening 16 minutes. The first attempt sailed wide, while goalkeeper Karen Blocker corralled the latter two.
Midfielder Laura Nyholt nearly gave the Lady Flames the edge at the top of the 21st minute. The redshirt senior headed a shot at the Coastal Carolina net, but goalkeeper Saundra Baron made the save to maintain the stalemate.
In the 42nd minute, forward Geena Swentik made a play of her own at the Chanticleers goal, but once again Baron was there for the stop, leading to a scoreless first half.
Both goalkeepers continued to make key stops for their respective teams in the second half. After Blocker thwarted another Coastal Carolina attempt in the 49th minute, Baron stopped a Heather Bentley shot at the opposite end, keeping the contest scoreless.
Betancourt broke the scoreless tie in the 74th minute. Upon picking the pocket of a Chanticleer defender, Boone dished a pass into open space at the top of the right corner of the 18-yard box to the Costa Rican native, who buried a shot in the near side of the net for the game-winning goal and the 1-0 final.
Blocker finishes the contest with three saves, earning her second shutout of the season and ninth of her career. The redshirt junior is now tied with former teammate Ashley Nyholt (2007-10) for second all-time on Liberty's career shutout listing.
Saundra Baron played the full 90 minutes for the Chanticleers, making four saves. Liberty returns to Osborne Stadium on Saturday for another Big South matchup versus Charleston Southern. Game time is slated for 1 p.m.