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Boiling Springs, N.C. - The No. 2 seeded Gardner-Webb men's soccer team saw their season come to an end on Sunday afternoon, as the Runnin' Bulldogs fell to the No. 4 seeded Liberty Flames, 3-1, in the championship match of the 2011 Big South Tournament at Greene-Harbison Field in Boiling Springs, N.C.

The Runnin' Bulldogs end their season at 9-8-4 overall, while the Flames move on to the NCAA Championship Tournament with a record of 11-6-2 overall.

In their first every Big South Championship match, the Runnin' Bulldogs appeared out of sync in the early minutes of the contest, as over the first nine minutes of play Gardner-Webb was whistled for six fouls.

In the 10th minute, the action picked up in front of the goal, as Liberty's Phillip Aseweh fired off the first shot of the contest from the right top corner of the box, which deflected of a GWU defender.  However, the blocked ball bounced right to Liberty's Kyle Breitmeyer in front of the goal, who swung at the loose ball with his right foot and put it just off the hands of a diving Scott Krotee and into the back of the net.

The goal, which was Breitmeyer's first of the season, put the No. 4 seeded Flames up early at 1-0, 10 minutes into the match.

Gardner-Webb's first shot attempt of the right foot of freshman Denzel Clarke sailed wide in the 14th minute, as the physical play continued with five more foul calls over the next 10 minutes of play.

In the 23rd minute, Liberty's Breitmeyer was attempting to beat a GWU defender down the left side of the box and fired off a shot that was blocked by Gardner-Webb's Krotee to keep the score at 1-0.

Liberty scored again in the 24th minute, as Breitmeyer was taken down inside the box and Liberty was awarded a penalty kick. Aseweh cashed in on the penalty kick, striking the ball past the keeper on the right side and into the back of the net to give the Flames a 2-0 lead. The goal was the seventh of the season for the First Team All-Conference player.

The Flames nearly got a third goal in the 35th minute, but a potential one vs. one opportunity for forward Travis Joseph was countered with a great recovery effort by GWU's First-Team All-Conference defender Jon Ole Reinhardsen to keep the Liberty lead at 2-0.

Gardner-Webb was unable to put consistent pressure on Liberty's defensive third, which was able to limit the Runnin' Bulldogs offensive opportunities thanks to solid defense from Greg White and First Team All-Big South member Uriah Bentick on the backline.

GWU threatened for the first time in the 42nd minute off a free kick attempt by John Sargent from 35 yards out, as the ball found its way through to the keeper Scott Sutarik, who corralled the ball into his chest, keeping the score at 2-0 heading into the halftime break.

GWU got a quick scoring chance in the 50th minute off a cross from Jalen Gathers to Sargent, but the junior's shot attempt sailed left of the goal.

Liberty countered in the 42nd minute when Darren Amoo found space on the left side of the Gardner-Webb backline, but his shot was saved by a diving Krotee.

Another cross from Gathers in the 59th minute nearly resulted in a goal for Gardner-Webb, but a header by Clarke in front of the left front post was blocked away by Sutarik to keep the score at 2-0 in favor of the Flames.

GWU got good looks by Second-Team All-Conference forward Chris Davis and Ernesto Gaita in the 66th minute, but both shot attempts went wide.

Liberty put the match out of reach with a third goal in the 72nd minute when Amoo broke free off a long goal kick by Sutarik, flicking the ball over the Gardner-Webb keeper to put the Flames up 3-0. Amoo's second half goal gave him seven for the season and made him Liberty's all-time leading goal scorer.

GWU's Clarke got open for a shot in the 74th minute, but the from 15 yards out was swatted off its line by Sutarik and glanced off the top of the crossbar to keep the Flames' lead at 3-0.

Gardner-Webb fought to the end for its home crowd, getting a goal back in the 85th minute when Kevin Nolan jumped on a loose ball in the box and put it past Sutarik to make the score 3-1.

The goal was the senior's first career goal.

The Flames held the Runnin' Bulldogs last-minute rally attempt in check to hold on for the 3-1 victory.

For the match, Gardner-Webb outshot Liberty 11-9 and also held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Each goalkeeper made three saves on the day, while GWU was called for 19 fouls compared to Liberty's 14.

The championship is Liberty's second overall and the Flames first since winning it the once time back in 2007.

The championship match appearance was the first for Gardner-Webb since defeating Stetson for the Atlantic Sun Championship in 2006.

Krotee, Reinhardsen and Eric Asanin-Miroux were all named to the Big South All-Tournament Team.

###

 

Gardner-Webb Head Coach Tony Setzer

"I tip my hat to the Flames of Liberty and we wish them the best of luck the rest of the way. They earned it here today, and they will be great representatives of the Big South Conference. Our kids fought hard, but when you give up two early goals like that you have to fight an uphill battle the rest of the game. It's been a good year for us and we look forward to taking more steps forward next year."

 

Liberty Head Coach Jeff Alder

"I am very humbled by what God has done through this group of men. Gardner-Webb played a great game and we have a lot of respect for their coaches and team."

 

Big South Championship All-Tournament Team

Chris Phillips, Liberty (MVP)

Juan F. Nino, Liberty

Greg White, Liberty

Scott Sutarik, Liberty

Scott Krotee, Gardner-Webb

Eric Asanin-Miroux, Gardner-Webb

Jon Ole Reinhardsen, Gardner-webb

Adam Sewell, High Point

Karo Okiomah, High Point

Pedro Ribeiro, Coastal Carolina

Kjarten Sigurdsson, Coastal Carolina

Alex Isern, Winthrop

Mitchell Cardenas, Campbell

Lassi Hurskainan, UNC Asheville

Aldo Macias, Radford

 



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