Liberty Dominates Lehigh 15-5 in 2019 Opener

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BETHELEHEM, Pa. - The Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse team scored the game's first 13 goals on the way to a resounding 15-5 defeat of the host Lehigh Mountain Hawks, Saturday afternoon at Frank Banko Field.

Liberty improves to 1-0 with the victory and has won its last two season openers. Lehigh, a formidable foe who finished No. 29 in last year's NCAA Lacrosse RPI (Liberty was No. 38), falls to 0-1.

The Lady Flames kept the Mountain Hawks off the scoreboard for the first 41:21 of the contest while scoring 13 goals in a span of 40:42.  

Scoring Summary
Liberty Goals: Carly White 3, Jenna Joyal 3, Mia Toscano 2, Brianna McCaffrey 2, Hannah Quast 2, Kayla Foster 1, Grace Fletcher 1, Anna Keebler 1
Liberty Assists: Kayla Foster 1, Mia Toscano 1, Carly White 1
Lehigh Goals: Sondra Dickey 2, Mary Ellen Carron 1, Christine Balestra 1, Autumn Ryan 1
Lehigh Assists: Hannah Cermack 2, Jane Henderson 2, Sondra Dickey 1

Goalkeepers
W: Katherine Widrick 1-0, 10 saves
L: Samantha Sagi 0-1, 13 saves

Thoughts From Head Coach Kelly Nangle 
"I'm really proud of our girls. They have been preparing for this day for months and chosen to make this team and their habits a priority in the offseason, and it showed today. I'm excited for them to reap the benefit of an opening game win against a very good opponent. We are super excited to keep working and prepare for two more challenging games this week!"

Turning Point
Liberty took control in the early going, building a 5-0 lead in the game's first 11 minutes. During that span, four different Lady Flames scored, beginning with junior Hannah Quast's goal on a feed from junior Carly White with 27:57 left in the opening half.

White, Toscano and Fletcher scored the next three goals. Fourteen seconds after Fletcher's goal, White scored her second of the day with 19:38 remaining in the half to stretch the visitors' lead to five (5-0).

First Half Summary

  • Seven different Lady Flames found the back of the net in the first 30 minutes, led by two goals apiece from White and fellow junior Jenna Joyal.
  • Liberty goalkeeper Katherine Widrick thwarted the Mountain Hawks' scoring attempts in the opening half with five saves.

 

Second Half Summary

  • Liberty senior captain Brianna McCaffrey made it 10-0 in favor of the visitors with her second goal of the game with 27:40 remaining in the game. The Lady Flames' lead never dipped below ten the rest of the way.
  • Liberty freshman midfielder Hope Flack corralled three more draw controls in the final 30 minutes and finished the game with six total in her first career collegiate game.

    Key Stats & Notes

  • Saturday's victory marked the Lady Flames' first-ever win over a Patriot League opponent.
  • Liberty's Widrick finished with 10 saves on the afternoon, her eighth career game with 10 or more stops and first since making 11 saves at Radford, April 18, 2018.
  • The Lady Flames outshot the Mountain Hawks 35-19 and held advantages in ground balls (22-19) and draw controls (13-9).
  • After averaging 2.89 free position goals per game in 2018, Liberty converted 5-of-8 free-position attempts today. Joyal led the way with two goals on three attempts. Lehigh went 0-of-4 on its free-position chances.
  • Junior defender Sarah Steenson generated a game-high three caused turnovers. Quast, Kayla Foster and Widrick had two apiece. Widrick also paced the Lady Flames with five ground balls.
  • White and Joyal led the way with eight shots each in the match.
  • Four different Liberty players saw action for the first time in their careers: Flack, freshman Andrea Colavito, redshirt freshman Mackenzie Poist and freshman Lizzy Ferguson.
  • Liberty is now 4-6 all-time in season openers. This is the first time the Lady Flames have ever won back-to-back season openers (2018, 2019).

Up Next

  • Liberty will be back on the road, Friday at Winthrop (0-1). First draw between the Lady Flames and Eagles will be at 3 p.m. at Eagle Field in Rock Hill, S.C.
  • Liberty and Winthrop met twice last year when both squads were Big South Conference members. The Lady Flames won the regular season matchup. Winthrop eliminated Liberty in the semifinals of the Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship.