CHARLOTTE, N.C. –
Charlotte junior Amanda Jones
, a preseason Conference USA Player to Watch, lived up to the billing by tallying the match’s only score with just 2:04 left in the second overtime Friday night, giving the 49ers a thrilling 1-0 win over Liberty in the women’s soccer season opener at Transamerica Field.
Jones, who shared game-high honors with six shots, including four on goal, poked a through pass from sophomore Maddie Kiebel
past Flames goalkeeper Holly Vannoord at 107:56. Her game winner, the third of her career, was started when redshirt freshman Nicole Anderson
collected a loose ball 25 yards out. She then turned and found Kiebel, who played a perfect pass onto Jones in-stride to provide Charlotte (1-0) the heroics in the 20th
anniversary campaign opener.
The Niners peppered the Liberty (0-1) cage with 21 shots on the evening, two-thirds of which were placed on goal. Kiebel and freshman Rebecca Beatty
each added three attempts to the balanced attack, which saw 10 players with at least one shot.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Kubrick
stopped five Flames shots for the shutout, the 13th
of her career. She moves within one-half of a clean sheet of equaling Jessica Brooks (1995, ’97-98) for third place in program history.
Liberty tallied 17 shots, led by Megan Warner’s five attempts. Brittany Aanderud contributed five shots for a solid one-two punch at the top of the visiting lineup.
The 49ers nearly ended the game in the first extra frame, as freshman Perri Bonner
ran onto a pass down the right side. Her hard shot sailed just wide with two minutes left, keeping both teams off the board.
The Flames had numerous shots that hit the goal frame but their best chance may have come at the 56:33 mark. Warner sent a rocket off the crossbar from 35 yards away and the ricochet landed at the feet of Geena Swentik. Swentik, all alone inside the six-yard box, chipped her shot over the bar and Charlotte survived the threat.
Aanderud nearly gave Liberty another look but her blast from 35 yards out with 13:33 to go also went off the post.
The Niners had good looks themselves, including straight-on attempts from redshirt junior Taylor Dulaney
and sophomore Tori Fubara
. Both of their shots were part of the 13 saves by Vannoord.
Charlotte remains unbeaten in season openers during head coach John Cullen
’s five seasons, raising its record to 4-0-1 during the stretch. Friday’s victory marked the 50th
for Cullen during his 49ers coaching career.
Charlotte returns to action when it continues its season-opening homestand with a 1 p.m. Sunday match against UNC Wilmington. Live video will be available on Charlotte49ers.com, while Twitter updates can be found by following @49erGameDay.
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