No. 5 Radford Tops No. 4 Liberty, 2-1
HIGH POINT, N.C. – No. 5 Radford topped No. 4 Liberty, 2-1, in the third game of the 2010 Big South Men’s Soccer Championship Thursday at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C. The Highlanders will play the winner of No. 1 High Point/No. 8 UNC Asheville Friday night at 7:00pm in the semifinals, marking their second consecutive appearance in the semifinals.
The Highlanders were the first to strike in the game as Luis Grande stepped in front of a Liberty clearing pass and lined a shot from 25 yards out at 23:23 to take an early lead, 1-0. Despite being down on the scoreboard, the Flames held the lead in shots at the end of the half, 7-5.
The Flames found a little spark as they worked the ball in the box to Richard Nyarko who headed the ball, forcing the Highlander goalkeeper Joey Dennis to make a quick save just two minutes into the second stanza.
Radford responded on the offensive attack when a blocked Brian Gwuanzara shot was picked up by Iyiola Awosika, who put it in the back of the net with 62:49 on the clock, scoring the eventual game-winner and giving the Highlanders a 2-0 lead.
Liberty rallied in latter part of the game, but it wasn’t enough as Darren Amoo dropped a loose ball past Dennis, cutting the lead in half, 2-1, with a under minute to go.
Grande’s goal was his third this season and Awosika tallied his 10th of the season. Amoo’s late goal was his 12th of the season. Both keepers each made six saves, and both teams had 12 shots a piece on the day.
The Highlanders improve to 7-8-3 on the year, while the Flames end their season at 10-7-1. This is the first time in five years the Flames lost in the quarterfinals, and is the first time Radford advanced in the tournament when playing Flames since 1999.
Radford Head Coach Marc Reeves
“This was a great game with two teams battling away to advance. I thought we played very well defending and creating great chances. We now have to recover quickly and prepare well for our next opponent in the semifinals.”
Liberty Head Coach Jeff Alder
“Obviously, we are disappointed in the result. You have to give credit to Radford. Their guy made a great shot early and put us behind early. Our guys gave everything they could, but it just didn’t work out in our favorite tonight. I am really proud of my guys and the season they had.”