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Event Spotlight:
Ailing Nets Hat Trick As Charge Cruise Past Courage, 5-1

Monday, August 6, 2001

By Al Cohen
Philadelphia Charge Correspondent

The Philadelphia Charge regained third place in the WUSA with a record-setting performance tonight at Villanova Stadium, as Liu Ailing recorded a hat trick in the first half and Mandy Clemens scored a pair of second-half goals in a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Courage.

Liu set a league record for goals in a half when she personally gave the Charge a 3-0 halftime lead. It was the second hat trick in league history, as New York's Tiffeny Milbrett also accomplished the feat on June 22 vs Boston. But with an assist during the second half tonight, Liu established another WUSA record with seven points in a match.

Clemens added a season-high two goals for Philadelphia (9-7-3, 30 points), which also set a league record for goals in a game. The team entered the contest ranked No. 1 in the WUSA in scoring (1.55 gpg), but its previous high was only three goals in a match, which was accomplished four times.

Philadelphia inched closer to securing a playoff berth with two games remaining in the regular season. The Charge moved ahead of idle New York (8-7-5, 29 points) into third place and put some distance between them and fifth-place San Diego (7-7-5, 26 points), which will take on Philadelphia this Thursday at Villanova Stadium.

Carolina (6-12-2, 20 points) lost its third straight match following a three-game win streak and dropped the season series to Philadelphia, 2-1-0. The Charge had won the first meeting at home, 3-0, on June 10 before a 2-0 setback in Carolina on July 7.

Charge defender Heather Mitts set up Liu's first goal in the 14th minute with a nice run down the right sideline. She dribbled past a Courage defender and offered a pretty cross that Liu calmly chested in for her first goal since July 13. It was Mitts' second assist of the year.

After each team had a couple of quality scoring chances over the next 20-plus minutes, Liu made it 2-0 in the 37th minute. Kelly Smith notched her second assist on the play as she juked several Carolina players before sending a square pass through the box to Liu. The Chinese midfielder eluded another defender with a dribble to her left and then beat goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill to the far post.

Philadelphia assumed a three-goal advantage in the 43rd minute off a throw-in by defender Jennifer Tietjen. The toss went into the box and rebounded back to Liu, who shot a low line drive that deflected off Carolina's Carla Overbeck for her 10th goal of the season. The 34-year-old midfielder's previous best game was two goals in Philadelphia's 3-2 triumph in Boston on May 27.

Clemens continued the onslaught in the 48th minute following a long feed by Liu. Clemens was able to outmuscle a Courage defender to the bouncing ball and managed to get past an oncoming Luckenbill to net her fourth goal of the year.

Carolina finally got on the board in the 53rd minute when Silvana Burtini assisted on Hege Riise's perfectly placed line drive, but Philadelphia answered six minutes later on a corner kick by defender Jenny Benson. The bending cross went straight to Laurie Schwoy, whose header pass bounced to Clemens and all the 22-year-old forward had to do was flick the ball past Luckenbill for a 5-1 lead.

Charge goalkeeper Melissa Moore overcame a sprained ankle to make four saves and notch her team-leading fifth win. Moore entered the game leading the league in goals per game (1.55) and winning percentage (.667).

The Charge are back in action this Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7:05 p.m., when they wrap up the home portion of their schedule on Fan Appreciation Night against Julie Foudy and the San Diego Spirit. For ticket information, call 215-467-GOAL or visit Philadelphia concludes the season this Sunday, Aug. 12 at 3:05 p.m. in Boston vs. the Breakers.

Carolina Courage
Philadelphia Charge

Scoring Summary:
PHI - Liu Ailing 8 (Mitts 2) 14.
PHI - Liu Ailing 9 (Smith 2) 37.
PHI - Liu Ailing 10 (unassisted) 43.
PHI - Mandy Clemens 4 (Ailing 2) 48.
CAR - Hege Riise 6 (Burtini 1) 53.
PHI - Mandy Clemens 5 (Schwoy 4, Benson 4) 59.

COURAGE - Kristin Luckenbill, Jaclyn Raveia (Kristin Bengtsson, 46), Staci Burt, Staci Wilson, Carla Overbeck, Erin Baxter, Tiffany Roberts, Hege Riise, Silvana Burtini (Mikka Hansen, 71), Danielle Fotopoulos, Kim Yankowski (Meredith Florance, 57). TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Burtini, Fotopoulos 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Burtini, Fotopolous 2); FOULS: 11 (Burt 4); OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: Luckenbill 3; CAUTIONS: Burt 46, Fotopoulos 66.

CHARGE - Melissa Moore, Heather Mitts (Margret Olafsdottir, 46), Jennifer Tietjen, Erica Iverson, Jenny Benson, Rakel Karvelsson, Liu Ailing (Jennifer Soileau, 65), Lorrie Fair, Kelly Smith, Michelle Demko (Laurie Schwoy, 54), Mandy Clemens (Deidre Enos, 75). TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Fair, Ailing, Clemens 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Ailing, Clemens 3); FOULS: 10 (Smith 3); OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: Moore 4.

Referee: Sandy Hunt; Referee's Assistants: Steven Taylor & Tony Russo
Attendance: 6,078; Weather: Hazy, 93 degrees.

Photos by Jane Bresani

©2001 South Jersey Sports Online