The No. 1 seed Liberty women's soccer team is headed back to the Big South Women's Soccer Championship semifinals for the third straight year, after defeating Winthrop, 2-0, in the quarterfinals, Sunday afternoon at Osborne Stadium.
With the victory, Liberty (11-7-1, 8-2 BSC) will face No. 4 seed High Point (12-4-4, 6-3-1 BSC) at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C., Friday. Game time is set for 4 p.m.
Liberty's goals came from senior forward Crystal Elmers and freshman midfielder Amanda Barrett. The goal by Barrett marked the first of her Liberty career for the midfielder.
Senior defender Jaime Bouffard and sophomore forward Jennifer Knoebel were credited with an assists. Knoebel, who was voted Big South All-Conference first team and to the conference's All-Academic team, now leads the Lady Flames with eight assists.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Holly Van Noord finished with four saves to pick up her ninth shutout of the season and 32nd of her career. Van Noord, who holds the program record for career shutouts, needs one more to tie former Radford goalkeeper Che' Brown for the Big South all-time record (33).
Winthrop goalkeeper Karly Gustafson concluded the contest with eight saves. The Lady Eagles close out the 2015 season with a 6-9-3 overall record and 3-5-2 mark in Big South play.
Defensively, the Lady Flames have recorded four straight shutouts and have held opponents scoreless for 422 consecutive minutes.
Liberty is now 7-7-2 all-time versus Winthrop and 1-1-1 in postseason play.
The Lady Flames outshot the Lady Eagles on the afternoon, 16-8, and held a 9-2 advantage in corner kicks.
In the first half, both teams displayed quality defensive efforts. Liberty's best opportunity for a goal in the opening stanza occurred in the 30th minute. After receiving a ball directly in front of the goal frame, Knoebel tried to punch it into the net. Gustafson immediately pounced on the ball to make the close range save.
Following a scoreless first half, Liberty quickly lit up the scoreboard in the second. Just before the 52nd minute, Bouffard crossed the midfield line and fed a pass forward to Elmers on left side of the field. The forward then cut across the top of the 18-yard box and ripped a shot into the upper right corner. Elmers' third goal of the season gave Liberty a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Flames closed out their scoring in the 79th minute. Much like she's done all season, Knoebel sent a crossing pass into the 18-yard box from the right side of the pitch. Barrett received the ball in the center of the box and buried a 12-yard shot into the left corner. The freshman's insurance goal ultimately set up the 2-0 final.