Lady Flames soccer remains unbeaten with 6-0 rout of conference opponent

Fans trickled into Osborne Stadium as the Lady Flames soccer team warmed up on the field, eager to extend their win streak against conference opponent Sam Houston Sept. 24. Being Liberty’s second conference match of the season, hopes were high to earn another win against a C-USA opponent. The Lady Flames did just that, putting an enforcing 6-0 victory on display for all to see.  

Starting off strong in the first half, the opening goal from a set piece scored by sophomore Ava Goodman allowed the Flames a steady start. Liberty’s strong press continued, with a second goal happening in the 29th minute due to a mistake by the Bearkats’ defense. As the first half came to an end, Liberty vacated the field with 15 total shots, nine of which were on target, and a two goal advantage.

Just 30 seconds into the second half, assists from sophomore forwards Allison Hansford and Ivy Garner set senior midfielder Rachel DeRuby up in perfect position to find the goal, giving Liberty a solid three-score advantage. The next two goals came shortly after one another, with senior midfielder Saydie Holland scoring off a free kick with the ball ricocheting off the upper post right to Holland, which gave her a clear shot at the goal. Fans, already on the edge of their seats following the goal, were not expecting just two minutes later another chance would come. 

During a set piece where Flames Head Coach Lang Wedemeyer made a switch between senior defender Rebekah Earnest and Holland, which sent Holland towards the back post. From this position, Holland sent a strong header to the back of the net extending the scoreboard to 5-0. 

The Flames, while comfortable with their lead, were not yet done, solidifying the victory with a final goal scored by freshman forward Megan Hagan, who made her first with the Lady Flames after being redshirted her freshman year due to injury. With an assist from freshman midfielder Avenley Monteith, Hagen was able to finish the goal with a right-footed touch. 

Four surgeries behind her, Hagen was in tears reflecting on the moment.

“Feels amazing,” Hagen said. 

Another strong performer in the match was Liberty’s goalkeeper Ainsley Leja, who has kept a clean sheet for 435 minutes of play. The win also improves the Liberty defense to its eighth shutout for this season. 

“We changed our formation to match them up a little bit differently and I thought our girls managed that really well,” Wedemeyer said. 

“Occasionally, it created a little bit of confusion in transition, but for the most part, our three-back, Lena James, Rebekah Earnest and Elise Graff, did a really good job.” 

After the 6-0 triumph, the Bearkats and Flames gathered in the center of the pitch to pray over both team’s players, coaches, and staff. Next week will see Liberty host another conference opponent, the New Mexico State Aggies, on Saturday Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. 

Jolly is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion

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