LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Lady Flames lacrosse team ran its winning streak to five games with a dominating 21-6 effort over the Stetson Hatters in ASUN Conference action, Sunday afternoon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
The Lady Flames have now won five in a row for the second time in program history and first time since 2015. Liberty is a program-best 9-2 through 11 games of the season and 2-0 in the ASUN Conference. Stetson falls to 0-7 overall and 0-1 in the AUN.
Liberty notched season highs in goals (21), assists (13), points (34) and draw controls (19) in the match. Twelve different Lady Flames scored in the contest, highlighted by three goals apiece from attackers Jenna Joyal and Anna Keebler and the first career goal from freshman midfielder Morgan Learn. Joyal set a new career high with six points (3 g, 3 a), and freshman attacker Leah Ruby set new career marks with two goals and four points.
Liberty Goals: Jenna Joyal 3, Anna Keebler 3, Carly White 2, Kayla Foster 2, Leah Ruby 2, Mia Toscano 2, Brianna McCaffrey 2, Mackenzie Poist 1, Andrea Colavito 1, Morgan Learn 1, Emily Browne 1, Hannah Quast 1
Liberty Assists: Jenna Joyal 3, Carly White 3, Kayla Foster 2, Leah Ruby 2, Hope Flack 1, Mackenzie Poist 1, Mia Toscano
Stetson Goals: Erin Collier 1, Karli Maguire 1, Marina Rotella 1, Taylor Zuberer 1, Audrey Tatg 1, Saige-Lyn Gidzinski 1
Stetson Assists: Erin Collier 1, Shelby Lehmann 1, Karli Maguire 1, Riley Reagan 1
W: Katherine Widrick 9-2, 5 saves
L: Kiera McCarthy 0-7, 6 saves
Thoughts From Head Coach Kelly Nangle
"Today was a great day for our program. We were firing on all cylinders, our offensive production was spread and we continued to make plays on defense and in the midfield. Everyone contributed, and that makes the win even better. I'm excited to continue building this momentum into a full week of preparation for a big game on Sunday!"
Liberty used a 12-0 run to build a 14-2 advantage with 2:20 to play in the opening half. The Lady Flames' 14 first half goals (14-3 lead at half) are the most the team has scored in any half, this season.
Liberty had assists on nine of those 12 unanswered goals, including a stretch of five straight goals which featured assists. Joyal had three assists during the run, while Ruby had two assists along with a goal.
First Half Summary
• Stetson took a 1-0 lead 64 seconds into the game on a goal from Marina Rotella, assisted by Erin Collier, which proved to the Hatters' only lead of the game. The Lady Flames' aforementioned 12-0 run in the opening stanza was aided by 21 shots.
• Liberty controlled possession throughout much of the opening 30 minutes by winning 14 draw controls, compared to only three for Stetson.
Second Half Summary
• With the Lady Flames leading by 11 (14-3) heading into the second half, Liberty still managed to score seven times playing the final half with a running clock.
• Senior captain Brianna McCaffrey, who also won six draw controls in the match, opened the second-half scoring with a free-position marker. Goals from Joyal, Mia Toscano, Mackenzie Poist, Ruby, Andrea Colavito (second career goal) and Learn capped off a 7-0 run. The Lady Flames led 21-3 with 11:15 on the clock following Learn's goal, a bouncing shot through Hatters goalkeeper Kiera McCarthy's legs.
Key Stats & Notes
• In total, 28 Liberty players saw game action on Sunday. Learn's first career goal, which also featured freshman Hope Flack's first career assist, came with 11:15 remaining in the game and made it 21-3 Lady Flames. Flack matched a season high with seven draw controls. Freshman goalkeeper Jennifer Soriero and freshman attacker Anna DiRita each had their first career caused turnovers and ground balls in the second half.
• The Lady Flames held advantages in shots (34-16), ground balls (15-8), draw controls (18-9) and caused turnovers (8-7). Liberty also converted a better percentage of its clears (13-of-15, 86.6 percent) than Stetson (11-of-16, 68.8 percent).
• Liberty's 21 goals are tied for the fifth most in a contest in school history and were its most in a game since a 22-7 win over Longwood at home on April 11, 2018. The Lady Flames' 13 assists are tied for the fifth most ever in a game in program history.
• The Lady Flames are averaging 16.60 goals per game over their last five games, all wins. Liberty's only other five-game winning streak was from April 4-17, 2015.
• Senior goalkeeper Katherine Widrick made five saves in 53:06 of action and picked up her ninth victory of the season. She is 9-2 on the season with an 8.13 goals-against-average, .500 save percentage and 88 saves Soriero came on for the final 6:54, her second career appearance.
• Keebler notched her third hat trick of the season. She has 12 goals over her last four games and with 17 goals and 20 points, the sophomore is one of five Lady Flames with 20 or more points.
• White leads the team in goals (25), assists (18), points (43) and ground balls (38). With her five-point effort on Sunday, White has now matched a career high for most points in a single season (43) through only 11 games of her junior campaign.
• Liberty will play its next game a week from today, a road match at Coastal Carolina (5-2). Next Sunday's match will start at noon at Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C., site of the 2019 ASUN Lacrosse Championship (May 2 and 4). Liberty was picked to finish third in the ASUN, while Coastal Carolina was selected to finish second in the preseason coaches poll.
• The Lady Flames and Chanticleers will rekindle a rivalry which started when both squads were Big South Conference members. The all-time series is tied at 3-3, with the last matchup coming in 2016. The Chanticleers won the last matchup 9-8 in double overtime in the Big South Lacrosse Championship on April 30, 2016.