The Liberty Lady Flames scored four times in the first half and never looked back as they down the Radford Highlanders, 4-2, Tuesday night in Big South Conference soccer action at Liberty Soccer Field.
Liberty quickly jumped out on top just 7:24 into the game. Mandee Judd (Jr., MF, Front Royal, Va.) picked up a loose ball near midfield and split two defenders, putting a shot past Highlander keeper Annaliese Yoder for her first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later, after a foul in the box against Radford, Lady Flame Tanya Payne (So., D, Prescott, Ariz.) connected on a penalty kick at 10:07 for a 2-0 Liberty advantage.
The Highlanders cut into the Lady Flames' lead at the 29:13 mark as Megan Horan put a penalty kick by Liberty keeper Sonia Rodriguez (Sr., Fairfax, Va.).
The Lady Flames extended their advantage a little less than 1:30 later. Rachel Hetrick (So., D, Grantville, Pa.) sent a cross from the right side of the field which found Ashley Braam (So., F, Grand Rapids, Mich.) who put it home for her third goal of the season.
Leading 3-1, Hannah Sullivan (So., F, Minden, Nev.), who had come on as substitute earlier in the half, lifted a free kick into the net from 30 yards out for a 4-1 Liberty lead at intermission.
Radford would net the only goal of the second half as Jonita Hooker headed in a long pass from Kara Ramer at 69:44.
On the night, the two teams were even in shots at 13 each and in corners with five.
Lady Flames' netminder Rodriguez made four saves in the game, all in the second half, while Highlanders' starting keeper Yoder made three saves, before being replaced by Tara Oleartchick in the game's 34th minute. Oleartchick had three saves on the evening.
"It was probably the flattest Liberty-Radford game I have ever been apart of," remarked Liberty head coach James Price after game. "They are usually much more intense, but we used our athleticism and quickness to our advantage."
"I thought tonight's match was closer than 4-2," continued Price. "If anyone would have told me before the match that we would defeat Radford by two goals, I would have said ‘yes, please' because I wouldn't expect that."
"The four types of goals we scored tonight are four we haven't seen a lot of this year, so I was very pleased with our scoring."
With the win, the Lady Flames move to 5-3-2 overall and 2-0-0 to start Big South Conference play, while Radford drops to 4-9-0 overall and 1-3-0 in conference.
Liberty continues Big South Conference play on Saturday afternoon as the Lady Flames travel to Asheville, N.C. to square-off with the UNC Asheville Bulldogs. Game time is set for 2 p.m. Radford, meanwhile, returns home to host VMI in another Big South Conference match. Game time is set for 2 p.m.