KENT, Ohio - The Lady Flames lacrosse team defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes 23-6, Wednesday afternoon at Dix Stadium, sealing the No. 2 seed for the upcoming ASUN Lacrosse Championship.
Liberty scored 15 times in the opening half and equaled a program record for goals in a single game (23), which was initially established just over four years ago at both Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian (April 10 and 12, 2015).
The Lady Flames bolster their overall record to 12-4 and are one win away from tying a program record for wins (13), set in 2018. Liberty is now 4-1 in the ASUN Conference and maintains possession of second place in the league. The Lady Flames will be the No. 2 seed for the ASUN Championship, held May 2 and 4 at Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C.
Kent State wraps up its inaugural Division I season with a 2-15 overall mark and 1-5 record in the ASUN.
Liberty sophomore Anna Keebler paced the visitors with four goals, and junior Jenna Joyal added three goals. It was also a day of firsts for the Lady Flames, as freshman Lizzy Ferguson and Anna DiRita notched their first career goals in the contest. Freshman Morgan Learn tallied her first career point, first caused turnover and first ground ball, while senior Kaitlyn Cassidy-Fischetti had her first three points of the season with two goals and an assist.
Lady Flames freshman goalkeeper Jennifer Soriero made her first career save in the match and also logged her first full half in cage. Fellow freshmen Alexa Evernham had her first career caused turnover and first career ground ball.
Kent State's Abby Jones led all players with a game-high five points (two goals, three assists).
Liberty Goals: Anna Keebler 4, Jenna Joyal 3, Kayla Foster 2, Kaitlyn Cassidy-Fischetti 2, Hannah Quast 2, Grace Fletcher 2, Carly White 1, Leah Ruby 1, Brianna McCaffrey 1, Mia Toscano 1, Emily Browne 1, Anna DiRita 1, Andrea Colavito 1, Lizzy Ferguson 1
Liberty Assists: Kayla Foster 2, Leah Ruby 2, Carly White 2, Kaitlyn Cassidy-Fischetti 1, Morgan Learn 1, Brianna McCaffrey 1, Mia Toscano 1
Kent State Goals: Abby Jones 2, Lluna Katz 2, Eva Nikolai 1, Madison Rapier 1
Kent State Assists: Abby Jones 3
W: Katherine Widrick 12-4, 5 saves
L: Grace Merrill 2-15, 12 saves
Thoughts From Head Coach Kelly Nangle
"I'm really proud of how our girls came out today. Everyone contributed and got better. We were strong, confident and poised. We are coming into the home stretch of the season, so it's really important that we are improving in certain areas through each game. I think we have done a great job of that these last two games. We need to continue to build and get stronger as we approach the postseason. Our girls are locked in, focused and ready to play!"
After the Golden Flashes scored the first goal of the game 1:31 in, the Lady Flames scored 12 unanswered goals in a span of only 9:49. During the run, Keebler recorded a hat trick, and Joyal and Kayla Foster each scored two times. Freshman Andrea Colavito scored her third career goal in the stretch, and freshman Leah Ruby had her fourth career goal.
Sophomore Emily Browne capped off the run with her sixth goal of the year, making it 12-1 Lady Flames with 18:40 remaining in the opening stanza.
First Half Summary
• Liberty featured nine different goal scorers in the first 30 minutes and outshot Kent State 30-8.
• Ferguson's first career goal came at the 9:35 mark, as she buried a free-position tally into the back of the cage. The Fort Washington, Pa., native's goal pushed the Lady Flames' lead to 14-2.
• Liberty had a season-best 15 markers in the first frame and also had eight assists.
• Keebler had all four of her goals in the opening half in recording her sixth hat trick of the season. The sophomore attacker now has 28 goals on the year. Cassidy-Fischetti tallied three points in the opening 30 minutes.
• Senior goalkeeper Katherine Widrick made five saves and allowed only two goals in the first half before giving way to Soriero for the second half.
Second Half Summary
• Soriero's first career save came on a free-position shot from the Golden Flashes' Lluna Katz with 20:53 to play in the game.
• DiRita's first career goal came with 6:30 to play on a free-position shot. The freshman from Drexel Hill, Pa., drew two free-position attempts in a row and cashed in on the second one. The goal bumped Liberty's lead to 22-4.
• Joyal scored a highlight-reel behind-the-back goal with 25:30 to play in the second half. The junior's goal, her 31st of the season, extended the Liberty lead to 17-2. It also gave Joyal her sixth hat trick of the year.
• Junior attacker Grace Fletcher scored twice in the second stanza, her ninth and 10th goals of 2019. Fellow junior midfielder Hannah Quast capped off a multiple-goal effort (two goals in game) with her 21st goal of the season, making it 20-3 Liberty with 14:06 left.
• Junior captain Carly White scored the Lady Flames' final goal of the afternoon with 4:48 to play and also had two assists in the contest. White, Liberty's team leader in points (57), has scored at least one goal in 19 straight games, dating back to the 2018 campaign.
Key Stats & Notes
• Liberty will be the No. 2 seed for the ASUN Championship. The Lady Flames will face the No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the semifinal round, May 2 at Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C. The Lady Flames are the No. 2 seed in a conference tournament for a second straight season. Liberty earned the No. 2 seed in last year's Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship.
• The Lady Flames held advantages in shots (43-16), ground balls (17-15), clears (12-of-12 vs. 9-of-14), save percentage (.538-.361) and caused turnovers (11-6).
• Ten Liberty players had multiple-point games.
• Liberty improves to 7-2 on the road in 2019.
• Widrick picked up her 12th victory of the season in cage and 25th of her career.
• The Lady Flames will close out regular-season play at home against the Howard Bison (0-12, 0-4 ASUN), Friday night. First draw is set for 6 p.m. at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
• Friday evening is Senior Night for the Liberty lacrosse team. The program will honor its seven seniors – Brittany Tickle, Kaitlyn Cassidy-Fischetti, Faith Wells, Rachel Johnson, Katherine Widrick, Brianna McCaffrey and Kayla Foster – with a Senior Night Ceremony prior to the contest.
• Liberty is 3-1 all-time against Howard, but the two teams have not faced each other in nearly eight years and will be squaring off for the first time as ASUN Conference members. The Lady Flames topped the Bison 16-13 in the last meeting on April 30, 2011.