Thursday, March 23, 2017

Liberty Lacrosse Drops Road Game at William & Mary

The Liberty lacrosse team could not contain William & Mary on Wednesday evening in a 19-2 loss at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field.

The Tribe (3-7) broke a 2-2 tie and scored the game's final 17 goals to earn the victory over the Lady Flames (1-8). Midfielder Lindsey Jenks paced William & Mary with a game-high six goals, while Liberty's goals were scored by sophomore Kayla Foster and freshman Jenna Joyal. Lady Flames' sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Widrick made a season-high 12 saves in net.

The Lady Flames fell to the Tribe, Wednesday evening at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field. (Photo credit: Bob Keroack)
Widrick (0-3) was credited with the loss, while Tribe netminder Alex Lista (2-6) made two saves in the first half and picked up the win.

The Tribe raced out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Annalise Lower (2 g) and Danielle Palmucci (2 g, 3 a) in the game's first 5:40.

The Lady Flames answered with two goals of their own to draw even at 2-2. Foster scored her ninth of the season off a feed from Paige Britton with 21:48 to play in the first frame. Just 19 seconds later, Joyal collected a loose ball inside the eight-meter arc and fired a low shot into the back of the net.

William & Mary reeled off 10 unanswered tallies to close the half with a 12-2 lead, capped off by a buzzer-beater from Jenks. During the 10-goal spurt, the Tribe received goals from: Jenks (3), McKinley Wade (3), Palmucci (1), Lower (1), Meredith Hughes (1) and Abby Corkum (1).

The Tribe controlled play for most of the second half and outscored Liberty, 7-0, in the frame. Courtney Shaughnessy's unassisted goal with 1:29 to play settled the final score at 19-2.

Liberty was plagued by turnovers all night, as the Lady Flames committed 29, compared to 15 from the Tribe. Liberty struggled to get the ball up the field, converting just 11-of-23 clear attempts. William & Mary went 16-of-17 in clears.

Widrick and Liberty senior defender Victoria Tickle both collected a game-high four ground balls for Liberty, while senior defender Ashlyn Altieri had a game-high three caused turnovers.

Liberty will be back in action on Saturday at VCU (3-4). Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Cary Street Field in Richmond, Va.

No. 33 Terrapins Pick Up 5-2 Victory Over Lady Flames

The No. 33 Maryland Terrapins topped the Liberty Lady Flames women's tennis team, 5-2, on Wednesday afternoon at the Cook Tennis Center.

With the loss, Liberty falls to 5-9 overall, losing five straight while Maryland improves to 11-1, winning five consecutive matches.

"Once again, we are knocking on the door against ranked teams but are not quite punching our way through. However, we are becoming battle-hardened because of these wars, and I have no doubt that our games are growing as a result," stated Liberty head coach Jeff Maren.

The Terrapins opened the afternoon by taking the doubles point from the Lady Flames. Maryland's No. 2 pairing of Alexandra Stanova and Kristina Hovsepyan scored a 6-3 win over Liberty's Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld. Stanova and Hovsepyan took four of the first six games en route to victory.

The Terrapins secured the doubles point on court one. Their top pairing of Ekaterina Tour and Alexandra Stanova took the final four games from Rebekah Anderson and Evangeline Crist to win, 6-2, and give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The final doubles match between the Lady Flames' Anna Dollar and Aleksandra Panchenko and the Terrapins' Cassandre Thebault and Arnelle Sullivan went unfinished (5-5) after Liberty's pairing led, 5-3.

In singles, Stanova put Maryland ahead, 2-0 with a two-set triumph over Anderson (6-0, 6-1) in the No. 1 match.

Hassey provided Liberty its first point of the day in the No. 6 position to bring the home side within one (2-1) with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Caroline Williams. The senior's 63rd career win in a Liberty uniform moves her into third place all-time in program history in singles wins.

Hassey collected a straight-sets (6-2, 6-2) victory, Wednesday afternoon against No. 33 Maryland.
After a slow start, Tour took control of her match with Panchenko, emerging victorious (6-4, 6-2) in the No. 2 match to put Maryland ahead, 3-1.

On court four, Groeneveld and Thebault traded sets before Thebault pulled out a three-set victory, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. The Maryland's senior's victory clinched the match for the Terrapins, extending the lead to 4-1.

In the No. 4 match between Dollar and Yemelyaneka, Dollar took the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6, but Yemelyaneka came back to win in three sets (6-7, 6-4, 6-1). The Terrapin freshman's victory pushed the Liberty lead to 5-1.

On court three, Crist needed three sets to upend Sullivan, 6-7, 7-6, 1-0 (10-3). The Liberty junior's victory settled the score at 5-2.

"I am so proud of how Evangeline and Mariely are leading the way for us. Their mental strength has been impressive," Maren said. "They simply refuse to lose."

The Lady Flames will be back in action on Friday against East Carolina (5-6) at 2 p.m. at the Cook Tennis Center.

On Sunday, Liberty will return to Big South Conference play for a Senior Day showdown with Presbyterian (10-6, 0-2 Big South) at 1 p.m.

Sunday's match vs. Presbyterian will be Senior Day for the Liberty women's tennis program. Prior to the match, the Lady Flames will recognize seniors Emily Groeneveld and Mariely Hassey for their accomplishments and contributions to the program.

Liberty Falls on the Road at ECU

The Liberty men's tennis squad fell, 6-1, to host East Carolina, Wednesday at the River Birch Tennis Complex.

East Carolina moves to 14-3 with their fifth straight win, while Liberty falls to 7-8 and sees its three-match winning streak snapped.

The Pirates won the doubles point from the Flames, snapping Liberty's run of three doubles point victories. ECU's top duo, Freddie McGeehan and James Ling, won, 6-2 over Alex Poynter and Diego Castano to start the afternoon.

In the No. 2 match, the Pirates' Vlad Anghel and Fredric Lehfeldt were even, 5-5, with the Flames' Vince Salas and Eddie Gutierrez before winning the last two games to prevail, 7-5. Anghel and Lehfeldt's victory gave ECU a 1-0 lead heading into singles.

East Carolina grew its lead to 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory from Kasey Countee against Max Borcuti in the No. 5 match. The Pirates drew within a point of victory, as Giorgi knocked off Liberty's Chase Burton on court two, 6-1, 6-1, to make the score 3-0.

ECU's fourth and match-winning point came from Anghel, its No. 3 player. Anghel took down Gutierrez in straight sets (6-2, 6-4).

The Flames' lone point came from the No. 4 position. Liberty's Castano led Lehfeldt, 2-0 in the third set before the ECU senior was forced to retire the match and concede the point to Castano.
On court one, McGeehan bested Salas (6-3, 6-4), while the Pirates' Will Bissett settled the final score at 6-1 with his 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Poynter in the No. 6 slot.
The Flames saw their three-match winning streak halted at East Carolina, Wednesday.
On Saturday, Liberty will return to Big South Conference competition against Gardner-Webb (7-10, 2-1 Big South) at noon at the GWU Tennis Courts in Boiling Springs, N.C. Following Saturday's match, the Flames will take on No. 17 Georgia Tech (10-2, 3-0 ACC) at 5:30 p.m., Sunday at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

Salas Selected as Big South Freshman of the Week

Liberty men's tennis player Vince Salas has been tabbed the Big South Conference Men's Tennis Freshman of the Week by the league office.

Salas went a perfect 3-0 in doubles play and 2-1 in singles play, last week at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. The Flames reeled off three straight wins last week over Farleigh Dickinson, Fairfield and Saint Joseph's to close out their spring break stay in the Sunshine State.

Salas has been named the Big South Conference Men's Tennis Freshman of the Week for the first time in his Liberty career.
In doubles competition, Salas and doubles partner Eddie Gutierrez won all three of their No. 2 doubles matches. The duo knocked off Diogo Garnel and Pedro Carvalho of Fairleigh Dickinson, 6-3, on Monday. On Wednesday, Salas and Gutierrez earned a pair of dominating 6-0 victories against the Fairfield Stags' Jeffrey Rodgers and Tyler Shibles and Saint Joseph's Hawks' Kyle Chalmers and Dan Tan.

Salas defeated opponents from Farleigh Dickinson and Saint Joseph's in singles play. He bested FDU's Danilo Vukotic, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) last Monday. Salas' win sealed a 4-3 win for the Flames over the Knights.

On Wednesday evening against Tim Stierle of Saint Joseph's, he bounced back from a first-set setback to prevail in three sets (3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (12-10)).

The Angeles, Philippines, native owns the Flames' best overall mark (16-10, .615) in singles, this year. He is currently 8-6 in singles dual competition, this spring. Salas and junior captain Diego Castano hold the best doubles record for Liberty in the spring at 4-3.

Salas and the Flames (2-1) are in action today at East Carolina (13-3) and play road matches at Gardner-Webb (7-10, 2-1 Big South) and No. 17 Georgia Tech (10-2), Saturday and Sunday.

Barr Named NFHCA Division I National Scholar Athlete

Liberty field hockey senior Serena Barr was named the Zag Field Hockey/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I National Scholar Athlete, as announced by the NFHCA on Wednesday.


Barr is the only NCAA Division I field hockey student-athlete in the country to receive the award, given to the first, second or third team All-American who maintains the highest cumulative GPA through the first semester of the 2016-17 academic year.

The Lurgan, Northern Ireland, native became the second All-American in program history, as she was selected to the 2016 Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-America second team. Barr joined her sister, Natalie, who was voted to the All-America third team in 2015.

Barr, a public health major, holds a cumulative GPA of 4.0.

Barr is the award's third all-time winner and joins Old Dominion's Kelsey Smither (2014) and Duke's Lauren Blazing as the only field hockey players to receive it.

Barr was also named to the Zag Sport/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad and Scholars of Distinction lists in all four seasons she competed for the Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Liberty Lacrosse First Half of the Season Memories and Reflections

Liberty Lacrosse Blog: Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 12:54 p.m.

It is crazy to think the lacrosse season is about half over. It feels just like yesterday that we were up in Indiana and Butler and Notre Dame. Right now, I am on the bus working on some stuff prior to our game at William & Mary. We had lunch at Chili’s, and I was able to sit with Kat, Emily, and Nikki. We talked about anything and everything, from cats and dogs to weddings to siblings.

I wasn’t able to go on the team’s last road trip to George Mason and Robert Morris, which I was super bummed about. But I’m happy to be going on this one today and hoping to get a win.

The rest of this post will be a reflection of where we’ve come up to this point. I didn’t blog about the last three days of the Indiana trip, but I’ll say I did get to witness lacrosse games for the first time ever in person. We lost to No. 8 Notre Dame but bounced back for a win at Butler on Sunday. On that trip, we had dinner one night at Bailey Meador’s parents’ house in Indianapolis. Sunday was a super long day of travel, and I had been getting sick for the few days leading up to that. I was exhausted, and some of the girls had gotten sick too.

Which brings me to the flight from Atlanta to Roanoke, more specifically the landing in Roanoke. It was crazy windy, and our plane wobbled as it got lower and lower. It was definitely a turbulent and bumpy landing, as evidenced by the pilots choosing to flip on the emergency lights prior to landing. That brings me to the funniest/grossest thing-a guy on our flight legitimately threw up. Yes, tossed his cookies. Yacked.

We had four straight home games vs. Richmond, Virginia Tech, Navy and Old Dominion, where I got my first taste of doing the live stats at a game. Todd and I made a good team for each of the games, and I enjoyed the home game experience and having a home crowd. After the games, I worked on my story/stats in the team room and then went on to the tailgate. The tailgates for lacrosse certainly did not disappoint!

Mixed somewhere in there, I believe before the ODU game, was a dinner at Kristie Beitz’s house. Kristie outdid herself with excellent appetizers, a main course and delicious cookies. I was able to play a little bit of the card game Five Crowns before we started the group game, Plot. Nikki, Bri, Hannah and I were the subjects of the game and were instructed to try to guess a story the rest of the group made up. Apparently the story they made up featured elements we guessed such as: Aubrie getting killed, Fidel Castro, Cuba, Sunshine, Florida, etc.

At the end of the game, Courtney Brown (the narrator) told us that we sure made up a great story. I knew coming into this game, there had to be some type of “joke’s on us” element. I just didn’t know what. Sure enough, the joke was indeed on us.

Coming up, we have a day trip to VCU on Saturday which I’ll be going on. Next weekend, we head down to Presbyterian for our Big South opener next Saturday. I’m looking forward to the new adventures with this team. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Men's Tennis Ready for Three Road Contests, This Week

The Liberty Flames men's tennis team will play three more matches away from Lynchburg this week, traveling to East Carolina, Gardner-Webb and No. 17 Georgia Tech.
The Flames (7-7, 0-2 Big South), who come into the week on a three-match winning streak, will play a non-conference match at East Carolina (13-3, 2-0 AAC) on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the River Birch Tennis Complex in Greenville, N.C.
On Saturday, Liberty will return to Big South Conference competition against Gardner-Webb (7-9, 2-1 Big South) at noon at the GWU Tennis Courts in Boiling Springs, N.C. Following Saturday's match, the Flames will take on No. 17 Georgia Tech (10-2, 3-0 ACC) at 5:30 p.m., Sunday at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
The Flames will take on East Carolina (Wednesday), Gardner-Webb (Saturday) and No. 17 Georgia Tech (Sunday), this week.
Series HistoryLiberty is 1-6 all-time against ECU. The Flames' lone series win came in the two teams' last meeting on March 20, 2016 in Lynchburg. Liberty bested ECU, 4-2, on that day.
Against Gardner-Webb, the Flames are 8-9 in the all-time series. The Flames and Bulldogs met twice last year, once in the regular season and once in the 2016 Big South Conference Men's Tennis Championship.  Gardner-Webb bested Liberty, 4-3, on April 1, 2016, but the Flames won, 4-0, over the Bulldogs in the Big South Championship quarterfinals on April 14, 2016.
Liberty and Georgia Tech will be meeting for the first time, Sunday.
Flames Facts
Liberty reeled off three wins last week at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., to conclude its spring break trip. The Flames knocked off Farleigh Dickinson, Fairfield and Saint Joseph's to bring their record back to .500 (7-7).
Freshman Vince Salas owns the Flames' best overall mark (16-10) in singles, this year. The Angeles, Philippines, native is 8-6 in singles dual competition, so far this spring. Salas and junior captain Diego Castano hold the best doubles record for Liberty in the spring at 4-3, while Salas and sophomore captain Eddie Gutierrez teamed up for three convincing doubles victories, last week.
Gutierrez went 3-0 in both singles and doubles, last week. He now stands at 8-6 in singles in the spring, including a combined 7-1 record from the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the lineup.
Fellow freshman Chase Burton, a two-time Big South Freshman of the Week, has 13 singles victories for the season, including a 4-2 mark playing out of the No. 1 slot and 2-0 record in the No. 3 position. Junior captain Diego Castano has reeled off three consecutive singles victories to get to 7-7 in dual competition.
Scouting East Carolina
The Pirates will enter Wednesday's contest with a four-match winning streak, including wins over Palm Beach Atlantic, Davis & Elkins, Mount Olive and UNCG. ECU's nine-man roster is made up of two freshmen, four sophomores, two juniors and a senior.
East Carolina boasts a 67-20 combined record in singles play, this spring. Sophomore Vlad Anghel (12-3), senior Frederic Lehfeldt (11-2) and sophomore Ronny Giorgi (11-3) have the three best singles records on the squad. ECU's doubles pairings are 31-11 overall, led by Anghel and Lehfeldt (11-1).
The Pirates are coached by Shawn Heinchon, who was been in charge of the program since July of 2005.
Scouting Gardner-Webb
The Bulldogs, who were picked to finish fifth in the Big South Conference men's tennis preseason poll, have won two of three contests so far in league play. After losing their Big South opener to Presbyterian, they have since defeated UNC Asheville and Radford.
Gardner-Webb's 10-player 2016-17 roster features four freshmen, three sophomores and three juniors. The Bulldogs' most accomplished player is 2016 Big South All-Conference first team singles and doubles player Maximilian Scholl, a sophomore from Stuttgart, Germany.
Mike Griffith is in his 16th year as head coach of the Bulldogs.
Scouting Georgia Tech
The No. 17 Yellow Jackets will first take on No. 1 Wake Forest at noon on Sunday in a battle of top-25 teams. They will enter Sunday's matches with Wake Forest and Liberty with eight consecutive victories, most recently over Florida State (March 5) and Miami (March 12).
Georgia Tech's roster is comprised of a pair of freshmen, pair of sophomores, four juniors and two seniors. Senior Cole Fiegel is a perfect 9-0 in singles play out of the No. 4-6 positions, while senior Carlos Benito (8-1) and junior Christopher Eubanks (7-1) boast strong records as well for a Yellow Jackets squad that is 49-16 in singles, this spring. In doubles, Fiegel and sophomore Andrew Li (7-1) have the best record among Georgia Tech duos in the spring.
Head coach Kenny Thorne has guided the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Championship 12 times in his first 18 years at the helm.