No. 25 Davidson hands Liberty their first loss, 2-1
The Liberty (4-1-1) men’s soccer team knew it would face a stiff test as it ran onto the Osborne Stadium turf for a Sept. 20 dual with the No. 25 Davidson Wildcats (3-0-2) and it proved to be as much of a battle as anticipated.
Despite holding a 1-0 lead for much of the game, the Flames conceded two second-half goals as they watched their unblemished record go down the drain.
Early on, the Flames dominated possession and struck just 13 minutes into the match when freshman Bay Kurtz won the ball on a slide tackle and finished the play with a strike to the near post.
“Every game I go in with a mentality that I’ve got to make a difference,” Kurtz said. “I saw the ball come in, and I wasn’t going to let him win the 50-50, so I got a slide in on it and after that it was just routine. I take the ball in, find a corner and place it.”
Liberty held that lead for the rest of the half and went into the locker room in good shape to keep its perfect record. However, Davidson’s George Kaloudis came through with a goal in the 66th minute on a corner kick to equalize, which shifted the pendulum of momentum.
Things fell apart for the Flames after the Kaloudis goal. Junior Blessing Tahuona was booked with a yellow card in the 71st minute, which was the first of a few late-game mistakes by the Flames.
“It’s disappointing,” Head Coach Jeff Alder said. “I felt, for us, that we were on top of the game. They tied it, and obviously the ebbs and flows of the game I understand. They’re going to get a little momentum from that goal and a little bit of life, a little bit of juice.”
To give the Wildcats the lead with five minutes left to go, Davidson’s Maxi Pragnell buried his third goal of the season right past Flames keeper Scott Sutarik. Sutarik finished with a season-high six saves, but tied his season high for goals allowed.
Right before that however, the Flames just lost a golden opportunity to take the lead as Jamie Foxwell missed an open header served by Khalil Karl on free kick.
“(It was a) very disappointing result, but they’re a legitimate top 25 team,” Alder said. “They’ve been to the final four, and obviously they have a competitive program, and I told the guys the line is razor thin between being a top-25 team and where we are right now, knocking on the door.”
The Flames will attempt to bounce back as they face Howard University at Osborne Stadium Sept. 23 to conclude their only set of back-to-back home games this season.