Liberty women's soccer opened up this week's play at home against UMBC, Thursday. In the Lady Flames' first game at home since Aug. 20, Liberty delivered a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Retrievers. Liberty improves to 2-3-2 on the season, while UMBC drops to 1-4-1.
"I am a little disappointed in the way we played throughout 90 minutes, but credit to the girls for getting a positive result out of this game," head coach Lang Wedemeyer said.
Despite being outshot 16-13 for the game, Liberty was at its best in crucial moments of the game. Devon Jones started the contest with a goal and Kayleigh Kardos ended the match with her first career goal to give Liberty its first win at home this season.
With the match tied at 1-1, Liberty look to close the game out during regulation, avoiding overtime. Lissi Gordon applied pressure to the UMBC's outside back, forcing a foul just outside of the right side of the box. Taking the free kick from the right corner, Gordon delivered a perfect ball right in front of goal, and Kardos delivered with a header from eight yards out to give Liberty the 2-1 victory.
"I looked at the clock and saw there was only a few minutes left and we knew we had to make something happen," Kardos said following her first career game-winner. "It was a great ball from Lissi (Gordon) and if we continue to press the way we did at the end of the game then we will have great opportunities to score."
For the third straight game, the Lady Flames scored in the first half as Jones put Liberty up 1-0. Once Liberty gained control of possession in the midfield, Isabella Habuda attacked down the right flank, dribbling all the way to the corner for a cross into the box. Habuda placed a perfect cross directly in front of goal, where Jones was able to chip in her second goal of the season.
Following Liberty's goal, the Retrievers looked to even the score with three shots inside the box less than a minute after the Lady Flames' goal. UMBC had two shot attempts that hit the crossbar and Liberty goalkeeper, Melody Jayroe, corralled the final attempt to keep the visitors off the scoreboard.
Both teams had quality looks at goal in the first 45 minutes of play, as the two teams combined for 16 shots in the first half. UMBC outshot Liberty 9-7, but Jones' goal proved to be the difference in the half. To end the first half, UMBC had a free kick from 20 yards out and Olivia Bronson came close to scoring for UMBC with a shot on goal, only to see Jayroe come up with her fourth save of the half.
"I couldn't be more proud of Melody right now because she has stepped up as a freshman when she maybe wasn't expecting to," Wedemeyer added. "She has been solid and hopefully she will ride this wave of playing well game-after-game."
As UMBC continued to attack on offense, they struck midway through the second half to even the score. In the 61st minute, Elysia Paolillo tied the ball game at 1-1 with a goal inside the box.
Liberty responded after UMBC's goal by becoming more offensive minded and looked to pressure the Retriever's backline. After the UMBC marker, Liberty attempted four shots in the final 30 minutes while limiting UMBC to just one shot.
Liberty will conclude the week on the road by facing LSU on Sunday at 7 p.m. at LSU Soccer Stadium.