Men’s soccer versus University of Incarnate Word

The Liberty University men’s soccer team fell to the University of Incarnate Word the evening of Oct. 29 2-0, with both goals coming in in the first half. The win places UIW as the No. 2 seed and ensures them a first-round bye in the Ohio Valley Conference postseason tournament starting next week. Liberty sits just below them at No. 3.

The match was the Flames’ final regular season contest of the year, but it was most certainly not the fashion in which they wished to close out the season. However, the team called to a close a largely successful fall as it finished with at least nine wins for the first time since 2017. 

In the opening minute, Incarnate Word immediately pulled ahead, catching the Flames defense off guard and scoring within the first two minutes of the match. From then on, the Flames were forced to play catch-up. 

Liberty had a few chances early, calling UIW’s goalkeeper, Hugo Constant, into action on multiple occasions. However, Liberty was unable to find the back of the net, sending shots either wide of the cage or seeing them saved by Constant.

Many of Liberty’s chances came from set pieces. The team had five corner opportunities in the first half but could not capitalize on any of them. Those missed chances would prove costly, with UIW gaining valuable opportunities of its own on the other end. The second goal for Incarnate Word came in the 33rd minute, just seconds after sophomore goalkeeper Owen Moore made a key save for the Flames. The Cardinals’ goal doubled the lead, making the journey towards a comeback that much steeper.

The second half started with a far more aggressive Liberty team, as well as a determined Cardinals team who were up for the challenge. The game became chippy with 13 of the 20 fouls in the game coming in the final half. 

Five yellow cards were handed out throughout the second half with just one shot recorded in the final 24 minutes of the match.

Liberty outshot UIW 13-10 on the afternoon, but the second half was a tight affair with both teams knotted at five shots, each grappling for a foothold in the game and forcing a stalemate.

When the final whistle blew, a hard-fought battle had come to an end with Liberty receiving the unlucky end of the draw.

The Flames will now shift their focus to the OVC tournament, where they take on No. 6 Eastern next Sunday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m.

Moore is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion

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