Three different Flames each scored goals, propelling defending Big South champion Liberty to a 3-0 win over the Longwood Lancers in a conference match, Saturday evening at Longwood Athletics Complex.
Sam Duninick, Greg White and Juan Nino each netted a goal, as Liberty recorded its first victory of the year.
The Flames move to 1-1 on the year and 1-0 in the Big South Conference. Longwood drops to 0-3 overall and in conference.
Liberty carried play during the opening minutes of the first half. During the 7th minute, forward Kyle Breitmeyer fired a shot from the top of the box, forcing a save from Longwood goalkeeper Paul Hegedus. Three minutes later, midfielder Juan Nino ripped a shot, which Hegedus again have to stop to keep the Flames from getting on the scoreboard.
During the 29th minute, the host Lancers used a free kick to get off their first shot of the game. Off a battle for possession inside the 18-yard box after the kick, midfielder Phillip Van Berkom booted a shot from close range, which was plucked by jumping Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik for a save.
The Flames used a corner kick during the 38th minute to net the contest’s first goal. Midfielder Tim Harbison pushed the corner kick to fellow midfielder Zack Clark on the right side of the field. Clark lofted a pass for the far post, which Duninick kicked past Hegedus for his first goal of the year and a 1-0 Liberty advantage.
Two minutes later, Flames midfielder Sachem Wilson came free on the left side of the field, ripping a shot from 20 yards out, which Hegedus knocked down with a free hand and trapped for the save.
The half closed with a Longwood corner kick attempt. The Liberty defense easily cleared its zone, sending the Flames to halftime with the lead.
The host Lancers began the second half on the offensive. After a 35-foot shot by midfielder Michael Durr off the opening kickoff, Longwood forward Daena Bodie moved into the open on the left side of the box and fired a shot wide.
Liberty upped its edge to 2-0 during the 52nd minute. Forward Austin Wyman lofted a loose ball into the center of the 18-yard box, which fell to White. The senior quickly blasted the ball on the goal line into the net for his first goal, giving the Flames a two-goal edge.
Longwood tried to cut into the Liberty advantage during the 57th minute. Off a free kick on the right side of the field, midfielder Sam Yardley ripped the kick into the center of the goal. Flames defender Duininck headed the ball out, preventing the Lancers from getting on the scoreboard.
Trailing, host Longwood began to move players forward, hoping to close the gap on the scoreboard. The Lancers attempted two shots during a 10 minute period, a header in the 68th minute and shot wide during the 70th minute. Both attempts sailed wide.
Taking advantage of one less defender, Liberty put the game out of reach with a goal during the 78th minute. Breitmeyer found open space on the right side of the field and push the ball into the right side of the 18-yard box, drawing Longwood keeper Hegedus. The forward dropped a pass across the front of the goal for Nino, who tapped the ball into the open net for his first goal of the year and what turned out to be the final score of 3-0.
Shots finished even at 8-8, while Liberty held the advantage in corner kicks at 5-3.
Liberty’s Sutarik recorded one save during the 90 minutes of action, recording a shutout in his first start of the year. Hegedus made three saves for Longwood, before giving way to Seth Erdman in the 81st minute.
After starting off a four-game road swing with a win, Liberty will next travel to Lexington, Va., for the Jay Sculley Memorial Tournament. The Flames will play the Thundering Herd of Marshall in the tournament’s opening game, Friday at 1 p.m.