College Sports

Winthrop women's soccer team battles to draw with Liberty

Winthrop women's soccer team settled for a 1-1 tie with the Liberty Flames despite playing the final 50 minutes down a player due to a red card.

The Eagles will take an 8-8-2 overall record (3-3-2 Big South) in to the regular-season finale. Winthrop will play Radford at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Eagle Field.

Winthrop took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute when senior Erin Foote scored on a penalty kick. The goal was her fourth of the season.

Liberty tied the game in the 24th minute. Liberty's Silvia Betancourt gathered a deflection to score the equalizer. Amy Oberlin shot first. Winthrop goalkeeper Dimi Poulos knocked the shot away, but could not scramble back to defend Betancourt's kick.

Winthrop's Chelsea Tidwell nearly gave Winthrop a lead in the 34th minute when her shot from 18 yards hit the crossbar and bounced over the goal.

With the game tied at 1, Tidwell was center of attention again. She was called for a foul just outside the 18 box in the game's 60th minute. The referee initially awarded Liberty a penalty kick believing the foul occurred inside the 18.

Tidwell, at 5-0 the smallest player on the field, vehemently pleaded her case with the referee. She pointed on the ground to show where she had made a divot. She received the red card for foul language.

Liberty was eventually given a direct kick.

The red card left Winthrop playing with 10 players for the remainder of the game. Tidwell could face up to a two-game suspension for the red card.

"You have to be smart and keep your head on the field," Winthrop coach Melissa Heinz said of her fiery freshman.

She disagreed with the red card though.

"The rule isn't held up in the men's game. If it were used across the board I would be okay with it," Heinz said.

The referee, Rusty Cherry, explained how the rule came about in the Big South Conference.

"The coaches voted for it. They said 'no tolerance for foul language'. You hear a lot on the field. But when it is directed at player or at me, I have to put an end to it," Cherry said.

Winthrop did a solid job defensively for the final 30 minutes of the second half and throughout the two, 10-minute overtime periods.

"In the beginning we were a bit frantic. But we got together and said it is okay," Poulos said. Truth is, everyone was getting tired. Playing 110 minutes is rough."

Heinz had to be pleased with the defensive effort if not the final score.

"The defense is always great. I don't think we've had to practice too much defense this year with Stevie (Lucas), Kathleen (Pollard), Perk (Katie Perkinson), Kyrie (Weant) and Dimi back there. They did all they could to not let the ball get into the back of the net," Heinz said.

Liberty had a goal taken away by an offsides penalty in the 71st minute. The Flames had a huge advantage in corner kicks, 17-4, but were unable to score.

Liberty is now 2-6-1 in BSC play and 2-12-2 overall.