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Late Offensive Surge Gives Liberty the Win at UNC Asheville

October 21, 2017  Asheville, N.C.  RSS
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Late Offensive Surge Gives Liberty the Win at UNC Asheville

Liberty women's soccer concluded its regular season in dramatic fashion with a 2-0 win on the road at UNC Asheville. Liberty's offense delivered two goals in the final seven minutes of play to come away with the victory over the Bulldogs.

The Lady Flames end the regular season with a 9-6-3 overall record and 7-1-1 in the Big South, while UNC Asheville drops to 6-10-1 and 2-6 in conference. With the win, Liberty will claim at least a share of the Big South Regular season title.

"This season has been a grind and it has been hard, whether it was to score goals or find consistency, but that has taught our players a lot of life lessons," head coach Lang Wedemeyer said. "Our girls have continued to fight every day and persevere and it feels good to be rewarded."

After struggling to develop a rhythm on offense for the majority of the game, Liberty's attack caught fire in the final 10 minutes, as Gabrielle Farrell delivered the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute. Devon Jones delivered the ball down the left flank from the midfield, where Farrell pushed a shot to the far post for her third goal of the season.

"At halftime coach (Wedemeyer) told us to sprint for everything and I think that showed late in the game," Farrell said. "We have worked really hard this season and have had our ups-and-downs this season but we deserve this and we cannot wait for the Big South tournament."

Isabella Habuda sealed the win by tacking on a second goal in the 87th minute to give the senior her sixth goal of the season. After Liberty's backline withstood UNC Asheville's attack, Farrell caught the Bulldogs, countering with a pass forward to Habuda, who converted the one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper.

After Liberty's first goal, UNC Asheville came close to tying the game minutes after as Rachel Snyder went one-on-one with Jayroe and the freshman made a save to keep UNC Asheville scoreless. The shutout over the Bulldogs give Jayroe her eighth clean sheet of the season and her seventh during conference play.

As both teams looked to feel out each other's defense, Liberty had the first quality look on goal to start the game. Liberty's Farrell had the Lady Flames' first shot on goal in the 11th minute with an attempt from the left side of the box, but UNC Asheville's goalkeeper Bryson Lee came up with her first of three saves on the day. 

The Lady Flames had another quality look on goal in the 20th minute from Sarah Erickson. With her fifth shot of the season, Erickson fired off a shot directly outside the top corner of the box, forcing Lee to make a diving save. Liberty's backline did an exceptional job of keeping pressure off Jayroe in the first half, not allowing a shot on goal.

Both teams went into half scoreless as Liberty outshot the Bulldogs 6-3.  

Liberty picked up its offense in the second half with three shots in four minutes early in the half. Abigail Persson nearly put Liberty on the scoreboard with a beautiful strike from 20 yards, but the attempt hit the crossbar and stay out of goal early in the half. In her first save of the day, Jayroe had to come up big in the 68th minute as the Bulldogs' Skyler Chillson had a shot inside the box. Jayroe punched it out to keep the Bulldogs scoreless. 

Liberty ended the game, outshooting Asheville 12-10, while both goalkeepers came up with three saves.

Liberty now turns its attention towards the Big South Championship. They will host a quarterfinals matchup on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Lady Flames' opponent is yet to be determined. The game will be streamed on the Big South Network and on ESPN3.