Liberty’s Tim Harbison scored twice in the first half, while three different Flames netted goals in the second half, en route to a 5-0 win over VMI, Tuesday afternoon at Patchin Field.
Harbison netted his first two goals of the year, while Sachem Wilson, Jaime Foxwell and Alan Arellano each tallied his first marker of the season in the Liberty victory.
It was the first meeting between the two schools on the pitch as nonconference opponents since 2002. After 11 years in the Big South Conference, VMI returned to the Southern Conference for athletic competition this year.
Liberty moves to 2-0 on the season. VMI drops to 0-2. Liberty’s five goals are the most by the Flames in a game since a 9-0 win over Southern Virginia on Sept. 20, 2011.
Liberty carried play throughout the opening 23 minutes of the contest. The Flames came close to taking an advantage during the 22nd minute. Forward Sachem Wilson received a drop pass at the top right corner of the 18-yard box and lined a shot which hit the far left post. The ball bounced free, but was quickly cleared by the VMI defense.
A minute later, the Flames staked themselves to a 1-0 lead. After midfielder Bay Kurtz was fouled in the box, Harbison converted the ensuing penalty kick at 23:09 for an advantage.
Later in the half, Liberty capitalized on its continued pressure on the Keydets’ defense. Jovanni Chavez pushed a pass to the top left corner of the 18-yard box for Haribson. The junior midfielder took one step and ripped a shot, which deflected off a VMI defender and into the open right corner of the net for his second goal of the game at 39:20 and a 2-0 Flames’ lead at halftime.
Liberty extended its advantage early in the second half. Troy Reeves inserted a pass into box for Wilson. The Flames’ leading scorer last season turned and blasted a low liner into the open left side of the net for a 3-0 lead at 54:51.
Off a corner kick in the 70th minute, Liberty stretched its lead to 4-0. Khalil Karl’s kick was deflected into the air at the right post for defender Jamie Foxwell, who headed it into the open net for the defender’s first career goal.
Liberty made it 5-0 during the 85th minute. Arellano, a freshman, pounced on a ball deflected high in the air in front of the VMI net, scoring the first goal of his collegiate career.
The Flames outshot the Keydets, 26-8, in the contest. Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik made two saves to record his first shutout of the year and the 17th of his career. VMI keeper Alex Guerra made five saves.
Liberty will continue a four-game road swing with a match against the Thundering Herd of Marshall, Sunday. Match time is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex in Huntington, W.Va.