LYNCHBURG, VA. – Playing Liberty for the first time in 19 years, the Richmond Spiders scored in the second overtime period to edge the Liberty Flames, 2-1, Tuesday night in a non-conference match between the two Commonwealth of Virginia programs at the Campus East Fields.
Liberty falls to 2-5 on the year. The contest was the first overtime match of the season for the Flames. Richmond moves to 4-5. The Spiders have won three consecutive matches.
The Flames went on the attack during the opening minutes of the first half. Midfielder Johnny Torres fired the first shot of the game wide during the fifth minute and forward Kyle Breitmeyer had an attempt blocked down in front of the Richmond net in the 13th minute.
Less than four minutes later, host Liberty took a 1-0 advantage. Defender Henry Reyes dropped a pass for forward Tyler Bullock at the top right corner of the 18-yard box. The forward then pushed a pass into the middle of the penalty area for Breitmeyer, who beat Spider goalkeeper Thomas Hand with a shot into the upper left corner of the net for his first goal of the year and an early lead.
After a Richmond corner kick in the 24th minute, Flames midfielder Rafael Amaya ripped a shot in transition, which Hand deflected away with a diving stop.
Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik made back-to-back saves of Spider shots with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half. Sutarik first stopped a shot by forward Colby Abrahamoff during the 35th minute and less than a minute later, corralled an attempt by midfielder Mannaan Umar.
During the 38th minute, Richmond defender Nick Butler pounced on a loose ball and ripped a shot from 20 yards out, which hit the crossbar and bounced out of harm’s way.
The half closed with Hand cradling a shot by Amaya as time expired, sending the Liberty to halftime with a 1-0 edge.
The Flames opened the second half with Torres once again getting into open space to launch a shot during the 51st minute, only to see it just sail past the far left post.
At 59:43, the Spiders knotted game at 1-1. Abrahamoff fed a crossing pass from the right side of the field for the far post, which defender Christopher Hill headed into the lower right corner for his first goal of the year to tie the contest.
Off a corner kick, Liberty came close to regaining the lead in the 69th minute. Defender Sam Duininck, who was in the middle of the box, headed the kick down toward the left side of the net, only to midfielder Mitch Revis range back and clear the ball away from the goal line to prevent a score.
After the Flames were called offside during the 70th minute, Richmond’s Umar headed another crossing pass toward the middle of the Liberty goal. Sutarik stepped up and easily caught the attempt for a save.
A shot by Spider Houston Oldham, the team’s leading goal scorer, in the final minute of the second half sailed high, sending the match to overtime.
In the first extra 10-minute period, the Flames’ best scoring opportunity came in the 96th minute off a corner kick from the right side of the field. Defender Greg White’s header of the kick rolled just outside the left post wide. Meanwhile, Sutarik turned away Oldham with a save in the 96th minute.
The second overtime opened with Torres ripping a shot from 20 yards out, which Hand stopped in the 102nd minute. A minute later, Richmond’s Oldham lifted a shot high over the net in transition.
In the 109th minute, the Spiders netted the gamewinner. Umar took a long pass and pushed the ball up the right side of the field. The midfielder pushed a pass across the box to the far left post for Oldham, who put it in the open net for his fourth goal of the year and the 2-1 win at 108:41.
Liberty outshot Richmond, 25-14, in the contest and held a 10-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Sutarik recorded six saves in the Flames net, while Richmond’s Hand had four stops during the contest.
Liberty next hosts the Wofford Terriers in a non-conference match at the Campus East Fields on Saturday. Match time is scheduled for noon.