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Mendoza's Goal Propels Liberty Past Presbyterian, 2-1

October 13, 2017  Clinton, S.C.  RSS
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Kevin Mendoza's seventh goal of the season gave Liberty a 2-1 win, Friday.

Kevin Mendoza's seventh goal of the season gave Liberty a 2-1 win, Friday.

Kevin Mendoza scored with less than five minutes remaining, lifting the Liberty Flames past the Presbyterian Blue Hose, 2-1, Friday night in a Big South match at Martin Stadium.

Mendoza netted his fifth goal of the year and his third in last three games to push the Flames to victory. Midfielder Alex Dominguez put Liberty on the board in the first half with the first goal of his career.

With three straight wins in Big South Conference play, Liberty moves to 4-1 in conference and 8-3-1 overall. Presbyterian falls to 2-2-1 in conference and 4-6-2 overall.

For the second consecutive match, Liberty jumped onto the scoreboard early in the contest. Last Saturday at UNC Asheville, the Flames scored twice during the first eight minutes. Friday night, it took a little longer, but Liberty netted the contest's first goal during the 17th minute. Midfielder Pepe Segarra took Liberty's first shot of the game, which was blocked by a Presbyterian defender. On the left side of the 18-yad box, Dominguez collected the loose ball and put the ball into the open net for a 1-0 Flames lead.

After three shots by the host Blue Hose during the first 14 minutes, Liberty allowed Presbyterian only one shot during the rest of the first half, an attempt wide by defender Jakob Luedtke, during the 32nd minute.

The Flames continued their offensive pressure after Dominguez's goal and garnered a corner kick during the 25th minute. Off the corner, a header by Isidoro Garcia sailed wide, keeping Liberty from adding to its edge.

Flames midfielder Reuben Garcia closed the half with a shot wide during the 42nd minute, sending the Liberty into halftime with a 1-0 advantage.

The Flames' attack gained Liberty a corner kick less four minutes into second half. This time, Reuben Garcia's kick found the head of Nico Bellarde in the box. However, Bellarde's header went high.

During the 66th minute, Mendoza worked free for a shot and fired an attempt off the right post.

Blue Hose midfielder Sergio Pinto came free for a shot during the 69th minute, which Flames goalkeeper James Knoebel stopped to hold the lead.

PC continued to look for the equalizer. After Liberty cleared back-to-back Blue Hose corner kicks during the 74th minute, Presbyterian knotted the match during the 80th minute. An active Pinto sent a crossing pass toward the far post, where Nemanja Zivanovic headed it in for his first goal of the year, tying the contest at 1-1. The goal was the first allowed by the Flames in 216:29.

Liberty's Mendoza provided the visitors with what proved to be the game-winning goal less than six minutes later. Side-stepping a defender, Mendoza caught PC goalkeeper Connor Behrend out of position and scored at 85:27 for a 2-1 lead.

The Blue Hose did get a scoring opportunity during the 88th minute, as Presbyterian was able to organize for a corner kick. However, Liberty cleared the kick and went on to the victory.

The Blue Hose held a 9-8 advantage in shots and a 3-2 edge in shots on goal. The host team also had a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.

Knoebel, who leads the Big South in goals-against average, made two saves for the Flames. Behrend did not make a save while playing the entire 90 minutes in the Blue Hose goal.

Liberty returns home on Tuesday for its last non-conference match of the season. The Flames will host the Marshall Thundering Herd at Osborne Stadium. Match time is scheduled for 6 p.m.