High Point, N.C. – The Liberty Flames netted a goal in each half en route to a 2-0 win over the High Point Panthers, Wednesday night, in a Big South men’s soccer contest at Vert Stadium. The Flames recorded their third shutout of the year.
Liberty midfielder Geovanny Murrillo scored his first collegiate goal unassisted in the first half. Forward Blessing Tahuona netted his second goal of the year off a crossing pass from Bay Kurtz in the second half.
Jeremy Lee played all 90 minutes between the posts for the Flames, recording three saves. Panthers goalkeeper Kody Palmer made two saves.
Liberty evens its record in Big South play at 1-1 and 5-5 overall. High Point falls to 1-1-1 in conference and 4-4-3 overall.
The Flames struck for the contest’s first goal during the 17th minute. After forward Kevin Mendoza made a long run up the right side of the field and beat a Panther defender, he sent a pass into the center of the 18-yard box. There, a High Point defender punched the ball out. Murrillo pounced on the failed clearing attempt in the center of the field and ripped a low liner into the right corner of the net for a 1-0 Liberty advantage. The marker broke High Point’s streak of 405 minutes without yielding a goal.
Murrillo came free for another attempt during the 32nd minute. This time the freshman midfielder blasted a shot off the crossbar in an attempt to score into the goal’s upper left corner.
High Point’s best opportunity of the half came during the 37th minute. A pass from the right side of the field found the foot of midfielder Pat Shelton in front of the Liberty net. The midfielder’s attempt was pushed wide of the left post, as the Flames took a 1-0 lead into intermission
The host Panthers held an 11-5 advantage in shots in the half. However, only three of those shots were on goal. High Point also held a 2-1 edge in corner kicks.
Liberty extended its advantage to 2-0 early in the second half. Kurtz gathered a loose ball on the right side of the 18-yard box and pushed a crossing pass to the far post for Tahuona. The midfielder scored with a shot to the open right side of the net at 52:29
After the Flames’ second goal, the Liberty defense clamped down, allowing just one Panther shot attempt to reach goalkeeper Lee. The junior easily stopped and cleared a shot by defender Austin Yearwood off a free kick from 20 yards out during the 66th minute.
High Point had another opportunity to ruin Liberty’s shutout bid during the 86th minute. A shot by Shelton was lofted toward an open net. But, Flames defender Tyler Bullock ranged back and headed the ball away, allowing Liberty to clear and seal the clean sheet.
Liberty returns home to host the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs, Saturday. Kickoff for the Big South contest at Osborne Stadium is scheduled for noon. The match will be the first of a doubleheader with the Liberty women’s team. The Lady Flames will host High Point at 4 p.m.