LYNCHBURG, Va. - The UNC Asheville men's soccer team ended the 2012 season with a heroic effort at Big South foe Liberty and fought the Flames to a 0-0 overtime tie.
The defending Big South champion Flames needed a victory to finish in second place in the league standings but a determined Bulldog team did not allow that to happen.
The tie ended a frustrating 15-game losing streak for Asheville and gave the Bulldogs (1-15-1, 0-9-1 BSC) their first league point of the year. Liberty's record moved to 8-6-3 and in league play at 6-0-3.
"I'm really proud of the group to get a positive result against an outstanding Liberty team," stated Asheville coach Matt Kern. "Our possession was decent tonight, and we defended hard for 110 minutes."
The Flames carried play in the first half, outshooting the Bulldogs, 9-0. However, the Bulldogs received a solid effort from goalkeeper Dan Jackson, who turned away four shots to keep the contest scoreless.
Off the opening kickoff, Liberty defender Sam Duininck came free at the right corner of the 18-yard box for a shot. Jackson was in position and easily made the save.
During the 28th minute, Flames forward Kyle Breitmeyer had two shots corralled by Jackson. On the second attempt, a header off a crossing pass, the Bulldog goalkeeper made a diving save and cleared the ball.
Liberty's best opportunity of the first half may have come in the 38th minute. In transition, Breitmeyer took a feed into the center of box with a defender on his right shoulder. Trying for the lower right corner of the goal, his shot went just wide of the post.
The Flames opened the second half with a quality attempt during the 48th minute. Forward Tyler Bullock moved past a defender and lifted a shot, forcing a diving save by new Asheville goalkeeper Zak Davis.
In the 63rd minute, midfielder Sacheem Wilson slipped a pass from the right post into the center of the 18-yard box for Breitmeyer. Fending off a Bulldog defender in front of the net, Breitmeyer pushed a shot which Davis trapped against the turf, preventing a score.
Counter-attacking in the 75th minute, Asheville's Stabler Cochrane lined his team's first shot of the night from 20 yards out. Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik made the stop and quickly cleared.
In transition, the Bulldogs had an attempt hit a post and bounce out during the 86th minute. Midfielder Trey Hemphill ripped a shot from six yards out towards the right corner of the net. His shot hit the post and was cleared by the Liberty defense.
A minute later, Breitmeyer came free with a defender and just pushed a shot over the crossbar, sending the game to overtime.
Liberty opened the first extra period with a shot off the kickoff in close by Breitmeyer, forcing Davis to deflect it out for a Flames corner kick. Liberty then got back-to-back corner kicks, but could not find the game-winner.
During the final minute of the first overtime, Asheville's Cochran took a feed on the left side of the box and pushed a shot through traffic from eight yards out, which Sutarik deflected away.
Bulldog midfielder was stopped on free kick from 20 yards out during the 104th minute in the second overtime. A minute later, Liberty's Wilson headed a crossing pass into the center of the 18-yard box off the goal's crossbar.
The Flames outshot the Bulldogs, 25-10, in the contest. Liberty also held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Sutarik played the entire 110 minutes in the Liberty goal, making four saves for his fifth shutout of the year. Jackson had four saves while playing the first half in the UNC Asheville net. Davis recorded four saves over the remaining 65 minutes for the Bulldogs.