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Liberty Powers Past High Point, 3-1

September 30, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Alex Verville scored his first collegiate goal in Liberty's 3-1 win Tuesday.

Alex Verville scored his first collegiate goal in Liberty's 3-1 win Tuesday.

Joshua Boateng, Alex Verville and Justin Willoughby each scored first-half goals, propelling the Liberty Flames past the High Panthers, 3-1, Tuesday night in Big South Conference men's soccer action at Liberty Soccer Field.

With the victory, the Flames move to 1-2 in Big South Conference play and 5-3 overall. The Panthers drop to 1-1 in conference play and 5-4-1 overall.

With a rain shower an hour before game time, the opening minutes of the contest saw each team adjusting to uncertain footing on the wet turf of the Liberty Soccer Field. High Point's Matt Tuttle attempted the first two shots of the game, in the seventh and eighth minutes, with one being blocked in front by a Liberty defender and the other sailing wide.

The Flames countered with pressure of their own, beginning at the ninth minute. Liberty would receive back-to-back corner kicks, but was unable to convert either into a shot attempt.

Liberty jumped on the scoreboard with its first shot of the contest in the 16th minute. Defender Douglas Nyame (Sr., Kumasi, Ghana) sent a long pass to the wing for midfielder Phillips (R-Fr., Brownsburg, Ind.). The midfielder put a pass right on the foot of Boateng (Sr., F, Accra, Ghana), who blasted the ball into the top right corner of the net for a 1-0 advantage. The marker at 15:05 was Boateng's team-leading fifth of the year.

The Flames added to their lead in the 34th minute. Justin Willoughby (Sr., F, Greenville, N.C.) sent a crisp pass into open space just above the penalty box. Verville (Fr., MF, Rochester Hills, Mich.) ran onto the ball and rocketed it past High Point goalkeeper Michael Cresler for his first collegiate goal and a 2-0 Liberty edge at 33:46. Karol Chorak (F, MF, Saint Louis, Mo.) also assisted on the marker.

Liberty closed out the half with its third goal of the contest. Boateng pounced on a loose ball at the midfield stripe and dribbled into open space. Drawing the Panther defenders to himself, the senior dropped a pass into the center of the penalty area for Willoughby, who was one-on-one with the keeper. The forward connected with the pass in stride and buried it into the right corner of the net with 1.1 second remaining in the period for his second goal of the season, sending the Flames to intermission up 3-0.

Liberty outshot High Point, 7-3, in the first half of play.

The Panthers pressed the Flames' net to open the second half, forcing two saves from Liberty goalkeeper Paul Gilbert (So., Rockvale, Tenn.). In the 52nd minute, Gilbert corralled a header by High Point forward Chris Shrum and later in the 59th minute, stopped another shot by Shrum.

The Panthers cut the Flames' edge to 3-1 with their lone goal of the evening. Shrum, High Point's leading goal scorer, headed in a crossing pass from the right side of the field from midfielder Hilaire Babou for his fourth goal of the year at 61:20.

In the 75th minute, a shot by Chorak forced a save by Cresler to prevent Liberty from extending its advantage.

Playing solid defense over the last 15 minutes, the Flames were able to limit quality shot attempts for the Panthers, sealing a 3-1 victory.

High Point held a 13-9 advantage in shots over Liberty, with 10 of its attempts coming in the second half. The Flames owned a 4-0 edge in corner kicks.

Gilbert made five saves in the Liberty net during the contest, while High Point keeper Cresler recorded four.

Liberty returns to action on Saturday afternoon, when it hosts Coastal Carolina in a Big South Conference match. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.