Women’s soccer falls in second round of tournament

O-”win” — Senior Maria Owen scored Liberty’s second goal in a close edging of Coastal Carolina. The Flames finished the weekend falling to Gardner-Webb in tournament play.

The Lady Flames soccer team’s season ended Saturday as they were making a push to win the Big South Tournament. Play started against Coastal Carolina on Friday.

“Coastal is a physical team,” coach Jessica Hain said. “We want to take the referees out of the game and play well so one call doesn’t make or break the game.”

The Lady Flames produced accordingly and came away with the victory 3-2 in a heated game.  Sophomore Lauren Stell scored first for the Lady Flames off of a Laura Nyholt corner kick assist.  Senior Maria Owen scored her fifth of the season and 18th career goal to take the Lady Flames to a 2-0 lead into halftime.

After a Coastal Carolina goal early in the second half, sophomore midfielder Ariana Espinoza scored the Flames’ third and final goal, putting the Flames up by two and proving to be just enough to edge out the Chanticleers.

The Flames entered as the 6th seed of the tournament. After coming in as the number one seed last year it is a better fit psychologically for the team.

“Overall, seeding does not matter in this tournament I feel like,” coach Hain said. “Last year the top four team were knocked out the first game by the bottom four teams.”

After the big win over rival Coastal Carolina, the Flames had a tough test in front of them on the road to the title game.

“Being able to play a full game is what we need to do,” coach Hain said. “Scoring and team work are the key factors.”

Gardner-Webb stood between the Lady Flames and the championship. The game ended regulation length in a draw 0-0, forcing the season to come down to penalty kicks for each team.

“No matter what the circumstances of the game we are faced with we have to play the full game and outlast the other team.” Coach Hain said.

Lady Flames season ended as Gardner-Webb outshot them 4-2.

Lady Flames finished the year with a record 8-10-3.

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