In a tightly played contest, the Liberty Flames got goals from Adrian Bumbut and Kyle Cupid to defeat the Winthrop Eagles, 2-1, Saturday night, in a Big South Conference contest at Liberty Soccer Field.
Playing before a large crowd on Homecoming weekend at Liberty, the Flames raced out to an early 1-0 lead just 11:49 into the game. On Liberty's first shot of the evening, Kyle Cupid (So., MF, Edinburgh, Trinidad) picked up a deflection off a Winthrop defender and sent a shot over the head of the Eagle goalkeeper into the upper left-hand corner of the net for his second goal of the season.
Winthrop bounced back later in the first period when Kevin Green, who was trailing the play, received a pass from Saidi Isaac and scored from 18 yards out at the 30:03 mark.
Just over a minute later, the Flames struck back for what would be the game-winner as Adrian Bumbut (Jr., F, Zalau, Romania) put back a rebound on a deflection of an Osei Telesford (Sr., MF, San Juan, Trinidad) shot at 31:04, giving Liberty a 2-1 lead, they never relinquished.
In an evenly played second period, neither team could gain an upper hand as the teams traded shots, but could not put one past either goalkeeper.
For the evening, the Eagles out shot the Flames, 17-12, while Liberty held the edge in corner kicks, 4-1.
Flames' netminder Kevin Mahan (Sr., Waterford, Mich.) made four saves, two in each half, while his counterpart, Winthrop's Patrick Mitrovich also stopped four shots, two in each half.
"It was a big, big win for us. We needed a statement game," stated Liberty head coach Jeff Alder. "Going into the game, we felt this was going to be a statement game and our guys showed a tremendous amount of character and resolve, especially after we gave up the goal in transition and came back right away to get the second goal. I think they showed some toughness which is something we have been trying to talk about at practice."
"Winthrop is a great team. They're a team that is going to win a ton of games and come November to compete for a Big South championship also," continued Alder. "So, it was a good game for our guys and now, we have to build on it and get better."
With their first conference win, the Flames move to 3-3-2 overall and 1-0-1 in the Big South Conference, while the Eagles fall to 5-4-1 overall and 1-1-1 in the Big South.
Liberty steps out of conference play for its next contest as the Flames travel to Blacksburg, Va. to square off with the Virginia Tech Hokies on Tuesday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m. Meanwhile, Winthrop next hosts Coastal Carolina in a Big South Conference match on Friday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m.