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App State falls to Liberty as non-conference play ends

Freshman+midfielder+Hannah+L%C3%B6fmark+battles+a+George+Mason+defender+Aug.+20%2C+2023.
Courtesy of Michael Mann, App State Athletics
Freshman midfielder Hannah Löfmark battles a George Mason defender Aug. 20, 2023.

App State soccer fell Thursday 2-0 to an undefeated Liberty Flames team that has not lost in their last 21 matches dating back to last season. Although the Flames are coming in hot, the Mountaineers are entering the match 3-1-1 over the last five matches. 

The Flames dominated on possession only allowing the Black and Gold five shots, well under their season average of 14.

Making her 80th career start, graduate student goalie Kerry Eagleston tied Kelley Guinn for first on the all-time saves list at 175 saves. Eagleston, who is also second on the all-time career shutouts with 21, saw trouble on set pieces as the Flames’ scored on a free kick and  corner kick with each bouncing around the box, before finding the back of the net.

The start of the game saw both teams deadlocked as each side had two shots and one save well into the first half in a game dominated by midfield presence. The Mountaineer defense  never seemed to be on the same page, as they were missing consistent starter junior Skyler Walk, as she sustained two yellow cards in the Black and Gold’s loss to Radford. Walk’s presence was missed as the Flames scored in the 30th minute on a corner kick that bounced off of different players before getting past Eagleston.

While the struggles seemed glaring, the attack worked when senior forward Izzi Wood received the ball. Although her attacks were dangerous, she was unable to record a shot in the first half against a stout Liberty defense as the Mountaineers went into intermission down 1-0.

As the second half began, the Mountaineers came out hot, slicing through the Liberty backline coming up empty as the Flames’ goalie got an easy center of the goal save. Wood, who took all three of her shots in the final period, continued to be swarmed every time she touched the ball. Mixed with a quiet game from junior forward Stephanie Barbosa, the Mountaineers couldn’t get anything going past Wood’s three shots in the second half. 

The Flames’ midfield continued to dominate the possession game as App State was unable to mount an attack through the middle of the half. In the 60th minute, a Mountaineers foul  set up a free kick for Liberty. The ball once again found itself bouncing around the box and once again found its way past Eagleston to put the Flames up 2-0.

It was more of the same for the rest of the half as the Black and Gold only recorded one shot after the Liberty goal. The Flames were content with the ball sticking in the midfield, eventually taking the match 2-0 over the Mountaineers. 

App State soccer is back at The Valley Sunday for alumni day as they open Sun Belt Conference play against the Troy Trojans. 

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About the Contributor
Trey Blake
Trey Blake, Reporter
Trey Blake (he/him) is a sophomore digital journalism major, media studies minor, from Clayton, NC. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
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