Winthrop men's soccer team used three first-half goals to open up Big South Conference play with a 3-1 victory over Liberty on Saturday at Eagle Field.
With the victory, the Eagles improve to 6-3 overall and are now 1-0 in the Big South. Liberty is now 4-3 on the year and falls to 0-2 in the Big South.
"Obviously pleased to get a conference win against a very good Liberty team," said coach Rich Posipanko, who is now just four victories shy of 200 wins at the helm of the Eagles. "Having said that, I don't think we played all that well. And I know that wasn't Liberty's top game, either. We did score some very nice goals and created several other chances I was pleased with."
Winthrop jumped on the Flames early as Miquel Casajuana scored his second goal of the season in the 11th minute. Daniel Revivo won the ball toward the top of the box and took a couple of dribbles to try to get free for a shot. However, Revivo found Casajuana open on the left and set him up perfectly for a blast inside the right post.
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In the 25th minute, Casajuana was involved in another goal, but this time, he was on the other end. Matt Lacey played a ball to Casajuana, who quickly played a ball behind the Flames' defense to Matthew Skonicki making a run. The pass set up Skonicki with a one-on-one with Liberty goalie Paul Gilbert, and he slipped the ball by him for the goal. It was Skonicki's fourth of the season.
Just over seven minutes later, the Eagles found themselves up 3-0 as Said Abdi headed home a cross from Skonicki. It is Abdi's first goal of the season.
Joshua Boateng got the Flames on the scoreboard as he found the back of the net in the 64th minute.
• WOMEN'S SOCCER -- The Winthrop women's soccer team opened its 2008 Big South Conference season with 1-0 loss to UNC Asheville in double overtime at Eagle Field.
The Eagles fall to 4-5 overall and 0-1 in conference play, while the Bulldogs improve to 4-6-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
It took UNC Asheville only two minutes to score in the second overtime when Robyn Busha received a cross from Lindsay Bragg into the goal box. Busha placed her shot to the left of goalie Dimi Poulos and into the net for the game-winner.
Winthrop had two opportunities in the second half and first overtime to clinch the victory, but could not take advantage of them.
Chelsea Tidwell had a chance in the 83rd minute to put the Eagles ahead with a free kick from 18 yards out, but her shot sailed over the Bulldog wall and hit the top post, denying Tidwell of her third goal of the season.
The second opportunity came in the third minute of the first overtime when Rachel Webster sailed her only shot of the match from 10 yards out over the head of goalie Veronica Lazar, but the ball somehow managed to hit the bottom left post and bounce into the hands of Lazar.
Winthrop will be back in action at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Big South foe VMI.
• VOLLEYBALL -- In Boiling Springs, N.C., the Winthrop volleyball team dropped its Big South Conference opener 3-2 to Gardner-Webb.
Winthrop (3-10, 0-1) fell to the Bulldogs (4-11, 2-0) 18-25, 26-24, 26-24, 16-25, 16-14.
"Gardner-Webb had a great match coming off their win against Presbyterian Friday night," coach Sally Polhamus said. "We had trouble stopping their outsides."
The Eagles had two players who reached career highs in kills as senior middle hitter Shannon Sitzmann tallied 25 kills and sophomore middle hitter Sara Felts had 14 kills. Felts also hit .500 for the match and Sitzmann hit .400. Junior right-side hitter Kelley Taylor had 17 kills and freshman libero Janice Rivera had a career-high 28 digs. Sophomore setter Kelsey Hall also aided the Eagle attach with 54 assists.
Winthrop will be back in action at 7 p.m. on Friday as its opens home conference play against UNC Asheville.