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