The Liberty women's soccer team looked to rebound from Friday night's season-opening loss to Virginia, squaring off with Tennessee on Sunday at Regal Soccer Stadium. In a competitive game that remained scoreless until the 77th minute, the Volunteers managed to strike with a late goal from Rylie O'Keefe, defeating the Lady Flames, 1-0.
With the setback, Liberty begins the 2016 campaign with an 0-2 record. Tennessee moves to 1-1 on the season and is 1-0-1 all-time against the Lady Flames.
Liberty goalkeeper Holly Van Noord played the full 90 minutes in net, making 10 saves. Jamie Simmons also remained in between the posts for Tennessee the entire game, finishing with four saves.
The Volunteers outshot Liberty in the contest, 17-12, and held a 9-8 advantage on corner kicks.
In the opening period, each team had its share of looks at the net. Tennessee took three shots on goal in the opening 13 minutes, resulting in a trio of saves for Van Noord.
Later in the 18th minute, junior forward and Louisville transfer Isabella Habuda broke away from the Volunteers' defense and blasted a shot at the Tennessee goal frame. However, the shot sailed high over the net. Less than two minutes later, freshman forward Sierra Lam fired an attempt from the right side that was stopped by Simmons.
Tennessee's best look at a goal in opening period occurred during the 38th minute. With Van Noord coming out to challenge, Mady Hairston maneuvered around the keeper and had a chance on an open net. Hairston's ensuing shot ricocheted off the far post before being scooped up by Van Noord, ultimately keeping the contest scoreless at halftime.
The matchup remained competitive in the second period. The Volunteers had a pair of shots on goal in the 63rd and 70th minute, respectively, with each resulting in saves for Van Noord.
In the 72nd minute, freshman forward Gabrielle Farrell attempted to put Liberty on the board, flicking a shot from inside the box on the left side. Simmons was there to thwart the effort, preventing the Lady Flames from scoring.
Tennessee's game-winning marker came with just under 24 minutes left. After impressive back-to-back close range saves from Van Noord, the Volunteers set up for a corner kick. Neal sent the ball into the box off the corner, allowing O'Keefe to one-time a shot that sailed into the back of the net, setting up the 1-0 final.
Liberty returns to the road on Thursday, when it takes on UMBC. Game time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.