Flames men’s soccer team defeats Incarnate Word 2-1

The Liberty University men’s soccer team welcomed the Incarnate Word Cardinals to its home pitch Oct. 22, hoping to gain another victory against an Ohio Valley Conference opponent. The Flames defeated the Cardinals 2-1, claiming a hard-fought victory in the final home match of the season. The contest also marked the culmination of Senior Weekend, a weekend the team spent honoring players in their final year with the team. 

“We had a great ceremony yesterday and really got a chance to honor (our seniors),” Liberty Head Coach Kelly Findley said. “I thought you could really see the energy of everyone on the team wanting to leave their seniors with their last game.” 

As the Flames took to the pitch, sophomore defender Bryce Swinehart started the party with the first goal 20 minutes into the game, igniting the stands with excitement. 

“Right place, right time, right?” Swinehart said of his goal. “It was a good set piece, ball to the back post, I beat out my man with a little bit of speed. I saw the ball drop and I kinda knew I was in a good spot for a goal. So, I just buried it with the left foot … something we’ve done on the training pitch before, and it was just good to see it executed on the field.”  

In the second half, just five minutes in, junior defender Carlos Trott found the second point for Liberty, receiving a toss from his teammate and spinning around to strike it into the net. 

The Cardinals, however, began to fight back at the 13-minute mark, putting a point of their own on the board. For the remaining minutes in the half, the Flames were fighting to prevent the Cardinals from evening the score. 

 “We were under some pressure, you know, at the end of the game,” Findley said. “You know, restarts, corner kicks – that sort of thing happens in college soccer.” 

However, the difficulties the team faced did not affect the Flames’ mindset as they managed to run out the clock and secure a home victory for the final time in 2023. 

“It’s almost silly how good winning feels. I mean, losing feels terrible, but I think it’s just great for the guys,” Findley said. “I think most of that credit goes to the guys delivering and quality in their commitment.” 

Findley also expressed gratitude for his coaching staff in the victory.

“The rest of the credit goes to Jake Barry. Jake has done such a good job — he’s got a good mind for that stuff,” Findley said. “And Douglas (Oliveira) sets up on the defensive side, so (we) really have to credit the other guys on our staff for helping us score goals and keeping it out.” 

The Flames will now head to Texas for two games to close out the season, taking on the Houston Christian Huskies before heading to San Antonio to face Incarnate Word once again Oct. 29. 

Richards is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion

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