LYNCHBURG, VA. - Sam Duininck’s header found the top corner of the goal in overtime, pushing the Liberty Flames past the High Point Panthers, 2-1, in a Big South Conference men’s soccer match, Tuesday evening at the East Campus Fields.
After playing to a 1-1 tie during regulation, Liberty took advantage of a free kick from 20 yards out to score the golden goal at 92:55. Defender Uriah Bentick served the kick into the center of the 18-yard box for Duininck, who headed the ball over the outstretched hands of Panther goalkeeper Kody Palmer and into the top right hand corner of the net, providing Liberty with the win.
Duininck’s third goal of the season extends Liberty’s unbeaten streak to six consecutive games (5-0-1). The Flames move to 5-1-1 in Big South Conference play and 7-6-1 overall. Liberty played in overtime for the third straight game, posting a 2-0-1 record during the stretch. High Point falls to 4-2-2 in conference action and 11-3-2 overall.
The host Flames struck for the game’s first goal in the 10th minute. Midfielder Johnny Torres pounced on a loose ball near midfield and pushed it forward, past a defender for forward Kyle Breitmeyer. The feed put the Liberty forward one-on-one with Palmer, and he beat the High Point keeper with a shot to the left side from the top of the 18-yard box for his seventh goal of the season.
The Flames’ lead was short-lived. Less than a minute later, Panther midfielder Shane Malcolm moved into the right side of the box and slid a pass across the goal mouth to fellow midfielder Adam Sewell. The High Point midfielder ran onto the ball on the left side and scored his seventh goal of the season, knotting the score at 1-1.
During the 22nd minute, Panther Leon Carby took a crossing pass at the top of the penalty area, firing a shot which hit the far left post and bounded to teammate Marty Stern.
Stern headed a shot toward the net, which Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik ripped out of the air for the save.
Liberty’s Breitmeyer headed a crossing pass into the middle of the 18-yard box, only to see it sail wide of the left goal post in the 25th minute. After the header, play settled in the midfield with neither team able to organize for a quality attempt.
The second half opened with the two teams exchanging shots. Sutarik turned away an attempt by Ben Burdon during the 50th minute, while Palmer stopped a Torres shot during the 51st.
After a header by Flames forward Travis Joseph during the 54th minute, neither team was able to put a shot on goal until late in the half. The best opportunity to break the deadlock may have come during the 83rd minute, when Panther forward Mamadee Nyepon came free in the 18-yard area one-on-one with Liberty keeper Sutarik, but pushed his shot past the left post.
In overtime, Nyepon did fire a shot wide during the 92nd minute, before Duininck scored the game-winner during the 93rd.
High Point outshout Liberty, 14-10, and held a slight edge in corner kicks, 5-4.
Sutarik made three saves on the night, playing the entire match in the Liberty goal. Palmer recorded two saves for the Panthers.
Liberty next hosts the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs for a Big South contest, Saturday. Match time is scheduled for 2 p.m.