BOILING SPRINGS – Ali Al-Gashamy scored a goal and provided an assist Friday evening, yet a late goal by Liberty's Rigoberto Rojas allowed the Flames to slip past Gardner-Webb, 3-2, in Big South Conference play.
"Soccer can be a cruel game as the result isn't always indicative of how well we're playing," head coach Tony Setzer stated after the game. "Hats off to Liberty. They did what they needed to do to win the game. I'm really proud of our kids. We keep fighting and we'll just put it back together and look forward to playing Winthrop on Wednesday."
Gardner-Webb (4-9-0, 1-4-0 Big South) jumped out to an early lead in the 20th minute as Al-Gashamy sent the ball into the top-left corner of the net past Liberty goalkeeper James Knoebel following a cross from Hayden Sparrow.
Liberty (6-7-1, 3-2-0 Big South) would respond in the 28th minute as Kevin Mendoza scored with assists from Tresor Mbuyu and Rojas.
Rojas would give Liberty a brief lead in the 58th minute, sending a shot just past the outstretched hands of GWU keeper Matthew Swan into the left corner.
The Runnin' Bulldogs tied the match at 2-2 in the 61st minute as Al-Gashamy crossed the ball from the left into the front of an congested box, finding Sami Jilla who was able to sneak the ball past Knoebel into the lower-left corner of the net.
Liberty would score the go-ahead goal in the 80th minute, as Rojas was able work his way around the defense, sending a shot into the right side of the net past Swan.
The Runnin' Bulldogs were led by Al-Gashamy (two shots, one on frame) and Jilla (one shot, one on goal), who each scored. Liberty was led by Mendoza (five shots, two on frame), Mbuyu (three shots, which were all on target), and Rojas (two shots, both on net) with one goal apiece.
There were a combined 22 shots (11 on goal) and 23 fouls called on the match
Gardner-Webb returns to action Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm as the squad travels to Rock Hill, S.C. to face Winthrop. Live video of the match can be seen on the Big South Network (www.bigsouthsports.com).