Winthrop Drops Heartbreaker to Liberty in Overtime

ROCK HILL, SC Shannon Gallagher scored with 43 seconds left in regulation Sunday to force overtime but Winthrop fell in the first sudden-victory overtime period, 12-11 to the Liberty Flames.

With the loss the Eagles fell to 9-7 overall and 3-3 in the conference while Liberty improved to 8-8 overall and 4-2 in the Big South. The loss also mathematically eliminated the Eagles from inclusion in the conference tournament which hosts the top four teams.

"This was a really heartbreaking loss for us," head coach John Sung said. "We got the shots we wanted, but too many of them hit the post. We've got one game left and we'll try to end out season on a positive note."

With 4:31 left in regulation, the Flames took an 11-10 lead. As the clock ticked under a minute the Eagles scrambled, looking for the tying goal. Gallagher found the back of the net with 43 seconds left on an assist from Alyssa Blevins.

The game went into a six-minute overtime period, with no sudden-victory possible. Winthrop controlled possession throughout the first three minutes but a save by the Liberty goalie kept the game tied. After the teams switched ends Liberty was able to get the draw control and hold briefly before turning the ball over. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the ending was the same, as they couldn't get the go-ahead tally.

Following the first six minutes, the game went to a three-minute, sudden-victory period. Gallagher got the draw control to start the period but turned the ball over less than 30 seconds later. Liberty looked for its perfect shot, sending the first over the crossbar. The Flames came back at it and Liberty's Morgan Becker beat her defender and eventually the keeper for the game-winner.

The Eagles got off to a very impressive start, netting two goals in the first two minutes, both coming from the stick of freshman Claire Feeney on assists from Danielle Ellis. Winthrop extended its lead to 3-0 with 25:50 on the clock with a goal from Logan McCarthy.

Liberty battled back with goals at 6:46 and 11:45 of the first half, both on free-position shots, to get within 3-2. Krista Frowein gave Winthrop a two-goal edge with 11:30 on the clock on a free-position attempt. The Flames scored again with 9:04 left before tying the game with just under five minutes left in the half. Hayley Krause gave Winthrop the halftime lead of 5-4 with a tally with 2:30 left in the half.

The teams battled back and forth in the second half. Winthrop snuck out to a two-goal cushion with 19:45 remaining, but Liberty fought back with three unanswered markers to take a 9-8 edge with 14:24 left in regulation. Winthrop responded with goals from Gallagher and Megan Wallenhorst, taking a 10-9 lead with 8:42 on the clock. Liberty's back-to-back goals at 7:48 and 4:31 set up the exciting finish.

Claire Feeney and Shannon Gallagher each finished with three goals. Gallagher also recorded four draw controls. Megan Wallenhorst contributed two goals and two assists. Hayley Krause netted one goal and had seven draw controls.

The Eagles outshot the Flames 35-28 and won the draw control battle 18-9. Liberty was 4 for 9 on free-position shots while Winthrop was only 1 for 4.

Winthrop will close out its inaugural season next Sunday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m. against the Davidson Wildcats who have already secured the top spot in the upcoming conference tournament.

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ROCK HILL, S.C. Morgan Becker's sudden-death goal in the second overtime period gave Liberty a 12-11 win over the host Winthrop Eagles on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field.

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