Liberty saw its five-match winning streak snapped at Longwood Wednesday night at Elizabeth Burger Jackson Field. The Lady Flames' offense struggled as the Lancers pulled out the 3-0 win.
"We were just outplayed tonight," head coach Lang Wedemeyer said. "Longwood is a very good team that has had good results throughout the season. They came on a mission and we didn't answer the call."
Liberty falls to 8-6-3 overall and 6-1-1 in the Big South. With the win, Longwood improves to 11-4-2 and 6-1-1 in conference play. The loss puts the Lady Flames in a tie with Longwood and High Point for first place in the Big South with one game remaining in the regular season.
Two of the Big South's best goalkeepers were on display in Liberty's Melody Jayroe and Longwood's Maria Kirby. With the shutout, Kirby recorded her ninth clean sheet of the season while Jayroe came up with six saves.
For the first time since Sept. 14, at James Madison, the Lady Flames had to battle from behind as Longwood scored early in the first half to take the lead. Longwood's Teresa Fruchterman scored from 18 yards out as Liberty's streak of not allowing a goal ended at 409 minutes and 57 seconds.
The Lady Flames looked to create opportunities following Longwood's goal as Jennifer Knoebel and Gabrielle Farrell had quality looks looking to even the score. Knoebel attempted Liberty's first shot of the game, making a run into the box looking for a tap in goal but Kirby corralled the ball on the ground. Farrell came close to making the score even in the 31st minute with a shot from outside the box but her chip over the goalkeeper went a tad wide of the goal.
Longwood went into halftime with a 1-0 lead despite Liberty outshooting the Lancers 6-4.
Looking to extend its lead, Longwood came out in the second half on the attack and applied pressure on Liberty's backline. Jayroe came up huge in the 50th minute as Longwood had a one-on-one opportunity in front of goal but a diving save from Jayroe prevented the Longwood goal. Less than 10 minute later, Longwood found the second goal it was looking for from Emillie Kupsov to make it 2-0 in the Lancers' favor.
The Lady Flames struggled to develop a rhythm on offense early in the second half but picked things up late in regulation with seven shots in the final 45 minutes of play. Longwood made the most of its opportunities, attempting 13 shots for the game with nine on goal.
Isabella Habuda had Liberty's best scoring opportunities in the second half with back-to-back shots during the 78th minute. Habuda had two chances inside the box but Kirby made two diving saves to keep the clean sheet. Longwood's Carrie Reaver tacked on a goal in the 85th minute to make it 3-0 for the Lancers.
"I thought for periods of time in the second half we played well but we still have our destiny in our hands," Wedemeyer added. "Now it is a question of how our girls will respond on Saturday."
Liberty will conclude its regular season on Saturday at UNC Asheville. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Greenwood Field.