A first half goal proved to be the difference, as the ETSU Buccaneers defeated the Liberty Flames, 1-0, Saturday afternoon at Osborne Stadium.
Off a corner kick during the 37th minute, ETSU forward Richmond Taylor scored his first goal of the season for the deciding maker.
Liberty, who entered the contest sixth in the nation in scoring with a 2.80 goals per game average, was shutout for the first time this season during a defensive struggle.
The Flames fall to 3-2-1 on the year. ETSU moves to 3-1-2. It is the first time this season, the Buccaneers had a contest decided in regulation.
During the first five minutes of play, Liberty applied early pressure on the ETSU defense. Forward Tresor Mbuyu got loose for a shot from the left post at 1:58, which Buccaneer goalkeeper Jonny Sutherland stopped with a diving stab. Later in the fifth minute, Sutherland needed to make another stop when Edgardo Reyes pushed a shot attempt towards the net off.
Holding Liberty without a shot during the final nine minutes of the half, ETSU netted the contest's lone goal at 36:50. On a corner kick, Taylor headed a kick to the far post by forward Bruno Andrade into top of the net for the only goal of the game and a 1-0 lead.
During the 41st minute, Andrade got free in front of Liberty goalkeeper James Knoebel for a shot. The Flames' keeper smothered the shot, preventing the visitors from widening their lead.
ETSU outshot the Liberty, 10-5, and held the advantage on corner kicks, 5-1, during the opening the half.
Liberty looked quickly for a potential equalizer in the second half. Midfielder Shaun Stocker pulled a free kick from 25 yards out wide during the 51st minute and two minutes later, Reyes pushed a shot wide.
Solid defensive efforts by both teams kept shot attempts at a premium the rest of the way. After Reyes shot attempt, neither team was able to get off another attempt until ETSU midfielder Nick Spielman's shot high during the 71st minute.
The Flames moved a man forward looking for the equalizer during the final 20 minutes. A shot by Stocker was wide during the 82nd minute and a shot off a corner by midfielder Bobby Bynum went wide in the final minute of the play.
For the match, ETSU outshot Liberty, 12-10. The Buccaneers put six shots on goal, while the Flames placed four of their shots on net. ETSU also held a 5-3 edge in corner kicks.
Knoebel made five saves in the contest for Liberty. Sutherland made four for ETSU.
The Flames will host the Wofford Terriers at Osborne Stadium, next Saturday. The contest will be part of a soccer doubleheader with the Liberty women's team. The Lady Flames will host Gardner-Webb at 4 p.m., followed by the Liberty-Wofford men's match at 7 p.m.