RADFORD, VA. – Freshman midfielder Sachem Wilson scored twice, pushing the Liberty Flames past the Radford Highlanders, 2-1, in a Big South Conference men’s soccer match, Tuesday evening at Patrick D. Cupp Stadium. The victory extends Liberty’s unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2).
After Radford took a 1-0 lead early in the second half, Wilson netted his first two markers of the season less than four minutes apart.
Liberty moves to 6-1-2 in Big South play and 8-6-2 overall. The Flames finished the month of October without a setback. Radford falls to 6-2-1 in conference action and 8-5-4 overall. Liberty won for the first time at Radford since a 1-0 victory in 2004.
Neither team was able to find the net during the opening half. After Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik stopped the first shot of the game by Radford’s Dario Redondo during the ninth minute, midfielder Juan Niño fired the Flames’ first shot wide in the 15th minute.
Liberty midfielder Blessing Tahuona forced a save by Highlander goalkeeper Ryan Taylor during the 31st minute. Four minutes later, Sutarik stopped an attempt by Radford’s Joe Mayer.
In the 40th minute, Flames forward Tyler Bullock came free for the last shot of the half. However, Highlander keeper Taylor made the stop, sending the contest to halftime scoreless.
Liberty held a 5-4 edge over Radford in shots and a 1-0 advantage in corner kicks during the first 45 minutes of play.
The host Highlanders began the second half with the game’s first goal. Off a corner kick, the ball deflected off a Liberty defender in front of the goal to Radford defender Michael Hutcheon, who scored his first goal of the year from five yards out at 51:45.
Flames forward Kyle Breitmeyer and Highlander midfielder Chel Ho Kim Park exchanged shots, each forcing goalkeeper saves in the 62nd minute.
Liberty knotted the contest at 71:08. Tahuona dropped a pass into space for Wilson, who ripped a shot from 20 yards out into the far side of the net for his first career goal and a 1-1 tie.
Less than four minutes later, Wilson struck again during the 75th minute. Bullock fed a pass from the left side into the center of the field. Wilson ran onto the ball just above the 18-yard box and one-footed a shot into the upper, left corner to give the Flames what turned out to be the final margin of victory.
Over the final 15 minutes of play, the Liberty defense took over, allowing only two Highlander shots. Neither went on goal, forcing a save by Sutarik. An attempt by Lucas Diniz was wide during 82nd minute, while a shot by Jannik Eckenrode during the 88th minute sailed high over the goal, sealing the Flames’ victory.
Radford outshot Liberty, 13-12, and held a 6-5 edge in corner kicks.
Sutarik made five saves in the match for the Flames. Taylor recorded four saves for the Highlanders.
Liberty will close out its regular season with Senior Night, Friday. The Flames will host the UNC Asheville Bulldogs for a Big South match. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Osborne Stadium. Before the game, the seniors on the Liberty roster will be honored.