Sarah Davis' goal broke a 2-2 tie late in the second half and goalkeeper Sonia Rodriguez had a strong night as the Liberty Lady Flames defeated the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers, 3-2, in their season opener, Friday night, at UMBC Soccer Stadium.
The victory was the first in a season opener for the Lady Flames since Liberty defeated Stetson, 5-0, at the University of Central Florida Tournament to begin the 2001 season.
"It's good to win the first game of the season", stated Lady Flames head coach James Price. "It has been awhile since we have done that."
Liberty jumped on the scoreboard first as Amy Oberlin (Fr., D, Ada, Mich.) picked up a deflected pass off a Retriever defender 22 yards out and to score her first collegiate goal just 3:50 into the match.
UMBC tied the game at the 8:21 mark as Amanda DiCarlo redirected a cross from Amy Morrison and later, took a 2-1 lead, when forward Jessica Young scored on a lead pass from Cara Palmer at 16:06.
Just before halftime, the Lady Flames knotted the score when Ashley Braam (So., F, Grand Rapids, Mich.) connected on a through pass up the middle from Brittney Bench (So., F, Orefield, Pa.).
The score remained the same through the first 35 minutes of the second half until Liberty's Davis (Sr., MF, Modesto, Calif.) scored the game-winner and lone goal of the half off a cross from teammates Mandee Judd (Jr., MF, Front Royal, Va.) and Tanya Payne (So., D, Prescott, Ariz.).
For the game, the Lady Flames out shot the Retrievers, 18-10, while UMBC led Liberty in corners, 5-0.
Liberty goalkeeper Rodriguez (Sr., Fairfax, Va.) made four saves on the evening, while UMBC's Christine Bacinski tallied six saves.
"Sonia Rodriguez was really impressive tonight," noted Price after the game. "The goals scored against her were not her fault".
"Amy Oberlin played very well this evening," added Price. "When she was off the field, we were off as a team, but when she was on it, we were on."
With the non-conference victory, the Lady Flames begin the season at 1-0, while UMBC falls to 0-1.
The Lady Flames next continue their opening weekend on the road by traveling to Lawrenceville, N.J., for a 1 p.m. match with Rider University. It will be the first time the Lady Flames have played a game in the state of New Jersey.