FARMVILLE, Va. – Liberty’s Sachem Wilson scored the game’s lone goal in the second half and the Flames held off a late surge by their hosts, defeating the Longwood Lancers, 1-0, at the Longwood Athletics Complex, Wednesday evening.
Wilson scored his fifth goal of the year off a through pass from midfielder Bay Kurtz early in the second half for what proved to be the game-winner.
Goalkeeper Scott Sutarik and the Flames then used solid defense down the stretch to come away with the 1-0 road victory.
Liberty moves to 2-3 in Big South Conference play and 7-4-1 overall. Longwood falls to 2-4 in conference play and 3-9-1 overall.
During the first half, Liberty kept Longwood goalkeeper Carlos Canas busy, forcing the keeper to make four saves on its seven shots.
Liberty midfielder Bay Kurtz compelled Canas to go to the ground to stop shots in the 10th and 22nd minutes. On both occasions, Kurtz received a pass into the left side of the box and fired a shot, which Canas smothered to keep the Flames off the scoreboard.
Liberty’s best scoring opportunity of the first half may have come during the 32nd minute. Defender Conner Fleming lifted a shot from the left side 30 yards out. The shot bent toward the far post and struck the crossbar. The rebound bounced out of the 18-yard box and was cleared by the Longwood defense.
Longwood closed the half on the attack. Lancers leading scorer Anthony Ugorji moved into the top right corner of the 18-yard box and pushed a shot low toward the right post during the 44th minute. Sutarik deflected the ball out with a diving save. The Flames cleared the ensuing corner kick, sending the contest to halftime scoreless.
Liberty opened the second half, striking for the match’s first goal during the 55th minute. Kurtz sent a crossing pass from the right sideline into the center of the box for Wilson. Finding himself free of a defender and Canas out of position, he ripped a shot into the open left side at 54:10. The junior’s goal gave the Flames a 1-0 edge.
Liberty continued its offensive pressure, resulting in three shots over the next 15 minutes. The last shot of the span, an attempt from the right side of the box by midfielder Blessing Tahuona, just went wide of the left post during the 69th minute.
The Flames’ defensive held during the 74th minute. Looking for the equalizer, Longwood received a free kick off which Jonathan Kukupa shot. A Liberty defender blocked the shot in the box, deflecting it out. The Flames then cleared the ensuing corner kick to keep their advantage.
During the final 10 minutes, the Lancers moved an extra man forward looking to find the equalizer. Longwood had several opportunities to tie the contest, but Liberty was able to prevent a score.
Longwood had two corner kicks during the final four minutes. On the first corner, the Lancers attempted four shots with each one being blocked down by a Liberty defender at the top of the 18-yard box.
On the second corner kick, Liberty’s Tyler Bullock ranged back and knocked a Lancer’s shot off the goal line. A follow-up attempt by Longwood’s Zach Crandall was corralled by Sutarik to seal the 1-0 win at 88:42.
Longwood outshot Liberty, 17-15, and held a 6-5 edge in corner kicks.
Sutarik recorded four saves and recorded his fourth shutout of the year. With the clean sheet, the Flames’ senior goalkeeper moves into third place in program annuals with 20 career shutouts. Canas finished with five saves for Longwood.
Liberty returns home for a Big South match against the UNC Asheville Bulldogs, Saturday at Osborne Stadium. Game time is scheduled for noon. The contest will be televised by the Liberty Flames Sports Network and be shown nationally on ESPN3.