Lynchburg, Va. – Playing their first home game in the month of September, the Liberty Flames fell to the No. 18 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, 3-0, in a Big South Conference match at the Campus East Fields, Wednesday.
Liberty drops to 1-1 in Big South play and 2-4 overall. The Flames were playing in Lynchburg for the first time since their season-opening contest against N.C. State on Aug. 24 and coming off a four-game road swing in which they went 2-2. Coastal Carolina moves to 2-0 in conference action and 5-1-2 overall. The Chanticleers are unbeaten in their last six contests (4-0-2).
Visiting Coastal Carolina jumped onto the scoreboard in the contest’s seventh minute. Ricky Garbanzo headed a crossing pass by midfielder Matt Risher into the right corner of the Liberty net for his third goal of the season and a 1-0 advantage.
The Chanticleers added to their lead in the 23rd minute. After Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik blocked a shot off the foot of Chanticleer forward Ashton Bennett, Garbanzo picked up the loose ball inside the 18-yard box and scored his second goal of the afternoon. His fourth goal of the year gave the visitors a 2-0 edge.
Liberty rallied in the closing minutes of the first half. Off a free kick, forward Travis Joseph pushed a pass into the middle of the box for defender Sam Duininck, who sent a shot toward the upper left corner of the net. However, Coastal Carolina goalkeeper Federico Bertele was able to jump up and get a hand on the attempt, flipping it just over the crossbar to prevent the score.
The Chanticleers made it 3-0, netting a goal off the restart of the second half. Garbanzo picked up a loose ball and sent a pass toward the top of the 18-yard box for Risher, who connected for his first goal of the year.
Catching Coastal Carolina in transition during the 65th minute, Liberty’s Austin Wyman headed a long pass from the top right corner of the penalty area, which went just wide of the far post. Six minutes later, Wyman forced a save by Bertele with another header.
In the 75th minute, another strong effort by Coastal Carolina goalkeeper Bertele kept the Flames from scoring. Off a corner kick, defender Greg White headed an attempt toward the upper left corner of the goal which Bertele batted away with one hand out of bounds, allowing the Chanticleers to go on to claim the 3-0 win.
Coastal Carolina outshot Liberty, 18-9, in the contest, while the Flames held a 9-5 advantage in corner kicks.
Sutarik recorded four saves on the afternoon for Liberty, while Bertele made three stops for Coastal Carolina.
Next, Liberty steps out of conference to host the Richmond Spiders, Tuesday. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Campus East Fields. It will be the first meeting between the teams since 1993.