ROCK HILL, S.C- A 6-0 run over the final 21:21 of the game lifted the visiting Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse team to a 10-5 triumph over the host Winthrop Eagles, Friday at Eagle Field.
With the win, Liberty is 2-0 on the young season. Winthrop falls to 0-3 with the setback.
Lady Flames redshirt freshman Mackenzie Poist scored what proved to be the game-winning goal, her first career goal, with 15:51 remaining in the contest. Freshman Leah Ruby also added her first career marker with 8:42 left.
Eight different Lady Flames scored in the game, led by three goals from Jenna Joyal. The junior has now opened the year with back-to-back hat tricks and paces Liberty with six goals on the season.
Liberty Goals: Jenna Joyal 3, Carly White 1, Kayla Foster 1, Brianna McCaffrey 1, Grace Fletcher 1, Hannah Quast 1, Mackenzie Poist 1, Leah Ruby 1
Liberty Assists: Carly White 1, Grace Fletcher 1, Leah Ruby 1
Winthrop Goals: McKenna Blick 3, Lauren Morris 2
Winthrop Assists: Savannah Paton 2, Lauren Asher 1, Olivia Deaver 1, Ellie Marindin 1
W: Katherine Widrick 2-0, 7 saves
L: Alaina Girani 0-3, 17 saves
Thoughts From Head Coach Kelly Nangle
"Today was a great road win. Winthrop is a good team that always plays a great game against us. I am proud of how we endured and how different girls stepped up when we needed them to. This team is tough, they fight for 60 minutes and they support each other. We are really excited to get to work tomorrow to prepare for a very good Notre Dame team!"
After the Eagles took a 5-4 lead on a goal from Lauren Morris at the 23:06 mark, the Lady Flames scored six unanswered goals over the next 16:13 to put the game away. During that stretch, Fletcher evened the game at 5-5 (assisted by Ruby-first career assist) with her second goal of the year, followed by the game-winning goal from Poist with 15:51 left after she dodged a pair of Winthrop defenders and found the back of the net to make it 6-5 Liberty.
Nearly three minutes later, a Liberty fast break led to Joyal's second goal of the afternoon, a blast into the top left corner. At the 11:33 mark, Joyal capped off the hat trick with a free-position goal, making it 8-5 Lady Flames. Ruby (8:42 left) and junior Hannah Quast (7:53) sealed the victory for Liberty with their goals, settling the final score at 10-5.
First Half Summary
- Three of Liberty's goals in the half were free-position tallies (Brianna McCaffrey, Kayla Foster and Carly White).
- Neither team led by more than a goal in the opening 30 minutes. White's free-position goal put Liberty ahead 4-3 (12:24 mark) before Winthrop's McKenna Blick tied the game at 4-4 with 1:12 left.
Second Half Summary
- In the second half, Liberty outshot Winthrop 24-4 and earned seven draw controls, compared to just one for the hosts.
- The Lady Flames' aforementioned 6-0 run was their second run of 6-0 or greater, this season. Liberty scored the first 13 goals of the game against Lehigh, last Saturday.
- The Lady Flames, who led the nation in caused turnovers per game in 2018, had 10 of their 17 caused turnovers on Friday after halftime.
Key Stats & Notes
- Liberty is 2-0 for the first time in program history.
- Friday's win was the Lady Flames' third-ever victory over the Eagles. Liberty has won two of the last three meetings, dating back to last season.
- Reigning ASUN Defensive Player of the Week Katherine Widrick made seven saves while allowing only five goals for a second straight contest. Widrick and the Lady Flames defense have only yielded 10 total goals through two games.
- The Lady Flames dominated the Eagles in several statistical categories: shots (42-14), ground balls (21-16), caused turnovers (17-11) and draw controls (12-5). Liberty also only turned it over 13 times, compared to 22 for Winthrop. The Lady Flames converted 4-of-8 free-position attempts, while Winthrop was 0-of-1.
- Liberty's Brianna McCaffrey generated a team-high four caused turnovers. Freshman Hope Flack won a game-high seven draw controls and has 13 through two matches.
- The Lady Flames' defensive unit shut out the Eagles for the final 23:05 of the game.
- Liberty will return to Lynchburg for its home opener against No. 20 Notre Dame (2-0), Sunday at noon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field. Sunday's contest, which will air on ESPN+, will mark the first time any Liberty Athletics team has ever hosted Notre Dame in any sport.
- The Lady Flames and Fighting Irish met in 2016 (neutral site, Blacksburg, Va.) and (2017 South Bend, Ind.). Notre Dame won both of those games.