LYNCHBURG, VA. – The Liberty Flames used a strong defensive effort to push past the Campbell Fighting Camels, 1-0, in a Big South Conference match, Friday night at the East Campus Fields.
Forward Kyle Breitmeyer’s second goal of the year in the 63rd minute proved to be the difference for the Flames.
Liberty moves to 2-1 in Big South Conference play and 3-6 overall. The win snaps a three-game losing streak by the Flames. Campbell falls to 2-2 in conference action and 7-3-1 overall.
It was the first time this season that Campbell, who entered the game averaging 1.70 goals per game, has been held scoreless in the contest and the second time this year that the Flames have blanked an opponent.
Shots were at a premium during the first half of play for both teams. Liberty held the advantage in the opening period, outshooting the Camels, 6-4.
After a shot high by Liberty midfielder Johnny Torres off a corner kick 1:29 into the contest, Campbell forward Jhuvon Francis fired a shot during the sixth minute, which Flames goalkeeper Scott Sutarik easily stopped for his first save of the evening.
The Flames best opportunity of the first half came during the 29th minute. Midfielder Blessing Tahuona headed a crossing pass by defender Uriah Bentick towards the upper right-hand corner of the net, only to see Campbell goalkeeper Ethan Hall extend his arm and flicked the ball over the crossbar to prevent the score.
In the 37th minute after a corner kick, Bentick pounced on a loose ball a blast a shot high over the goal from 30 yards out.
Two minutes later, defender Sam Duininck picked up a ball which came free in the 18-yard box and lifted a shot, which was stopped by Hall, sending the contest to halftime scoreless.
The Camels Francis opened the second half with a shot from inside the box during the 49th minute. But once again, Sutarik saw the shot clearly and corralled it for a save.
The Flames netted the game’s lone goal at 62:45. Midfielder Sachem Wilson headed down a long clearing pass to Torres, who pushed a pass past a defender and into an open space for Breitmeyer. The forward collected the ball and ripped a shot from the left corner of the 18-yard box into the upper right corner of the net to give Liberty an advantage it never relinquished.
The Flames defense and Sutarik held tight down the stretch. In the 68th minute, Sutarik stretched out and pulled down a curving shot by midfielder Mitchell Cardenas, and later, pulled down a header off a cross by forward Bryce Miller during the 83rd minute.
Liberty then weathered three consecutive shots in front of the Flames net during the 84th minute. After the initial Camel shot attempt was blocked by a Liberty defender at the left post, the ball trickled into the middle of the goal mouth, where Miller flipped a shot towards the net which Sutarik blocked down with his hand. With the ball still loose, Francis ripped a shot from the top of the box, only to see Liberty defender Henry Reyes, Jr. range back, deflect the attempt down with his chest and clear the Flames’ zone.
A final attempt by Campbell’s Francis was wide during the final minute, sealing the victory for Liberty.
Campbell held a 14-10 advantage in shots during the contest, with corner kicks even at 5-5.
Sutarik made a career-high eight saves in the contest, while Hall recorded three saves.
Next, Liberty steps out of conference to host the American Eagles at the East Campus Fields, Tuesday. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.