Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Lady Flames Start Year Ranked No. 25 in NFHCA Poll

The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team will open the 2017 season as the 25th-ranked team in the nation, as announced by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) today in its Division I Penn Monto/NFHCA preseason national poll.
Liberty shares the final spot in the rankings with Pacific, last year's runner-up in the America East Conference.
The Lady Flames will face nine ranked foes in 2017, beginning with their season opener against No. 19 James Madison, Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Liberty Field Hockey Field. Liberty will then travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. for a Sept. 1 match at No. 11 Michigan.
The Lady Flames' challenging slate features games against five of the top six teams in the preseason poll. Liberty will host the defending national champion, No. 3 Delaware, on Sept. 10 in Lynchburg. Later in the season, the Lady Flames will welcome No. 1 North Carolina (Oct. 29) and No. 2 Duke (Oct. 22) to the Hill City. No. 4 UConn will also make the journey to Liberty for a BIG EAST contest on Oct. 14.
Liberty's other games versus preseason ranked opponents include: at No. 6 Maryland (Oct. 8), at No. 15 Wake Forest (Oct. 1) and vs. No. 23 Old Dominion (Sept. 29).
In its first year in the BIG EAST in 2016, Liberty finished as the runner-up in both the regular-season standings and at the 2016 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship. The team closed out the 2016 campaign in the No. 25 slot in the final NCAA Field Hockey RPI.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Liberty Field Hockey Blog Aug. 19

Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017
5:02 p.m.

It has been a fun last two days with Liberty field hockey. We took off from East Campus yesterday around 12:20 for Williamsburg. We arrived at Waller Mill Park a little before 4 p.m. for an activity day with the William & Mary Tribe field hockey team.

Jacki had laser tags guns and a sweet setup for outdoor laser tag in the woods. We played four-minute rounds, and I got to play one round with the seniors. It was over 90 degrees, so it made for a very warm day. One girl on the W & M team accidently stepped in a hornet’s nest and got stung by a ton of them during the game.

The Tribe team also made burgers and chicken and had other food for us, which was very nice. There was also an assortment of games, including Spikeball and horseshoes. After eating, Jacki and I got in a game of horseshoes against Tess and Mark (the William & Mary coaching staff). Carolyn and Victoria also ended up playing with us as well.

After taking a group picture around 5:50, we headed for the bus and then the hotel. We arrived at the hotel and had a short meeting before the girls had regen.

I got in a 5K run on a steamy and muggy evening in Williamsburg. Later on, the girls came by our room for snacks.

Nikki, Nat, Joey, Joey and I watched Live PD for a little bit from 9:30-10:20 or so. I was able to work in field hockey game notes before bed.

Today, I woke up around 7:45 and got in a run with Nat starting just a little after 8. We did just under three miles with very high humidity (99%) again. The breakfast spread had a bevy of good options, including made-to-order omelets, fresh fruit, coffee, bacon, etc. While waiting for my omelet, I got to talking with Greer about running. She has ran three full marathons and loves to run. It was cool to be able to talk running with someone who enjoys it.

While sitting with a big group of them, we got to talking about favorite movies among other topics. I also had to make sure to tell Greer I was sorry for her loss of Steve Irwin, and we asked him where she was when it happened.

At 10:45, we met in the meeting space for chapel. Coach Nikki shared what was on her heart, and then we went into a time of worship. It’s always great to see the focus turned towards the Lord during this time.

We arrived at Busch Field just after noon and waited on the bus for a few minutes before heading out to the field. Prior to the game, I headed down to the field to take photos for the Instagram story. I also touched base with their SID, Jacob Skipper, who ran the scoreboard.

It was another good learning experience inputting stats. Mal put us on top, 1-0, as she tipped in a ball on a penalty corner late in the first half. William & Mary scored with 12 seconds left in the half to tie the game at 1-1 heading into the half.

In the second half, Moniek put us ahead again with a nifty goal after weaving through two defenders and beating the Tribe goalkeeper with a backhand shot. William & Mary tied it up shortly after before Agui put us ahead for good with a rocket backhanded strike into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Some parents and fans made the trip, so the girls mingled with them before heading to the bus. We had a preorder from Chipotle, so Gary (our bus driver) took us there to pick up the food before heading out of town.

On the bus, the coaches debriefed the game with the girls. Now, everybody is just chilling out with about an hour left in the ride.

Our first regular-season game is a week from today at home against James Madison at 1 p.m.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Field Hockey Team Continues Preparations for 2017 Season

The Liberty field hockey squad is continuing to prepare for the upcoming 2017 season.
LFSN reporter Nick Pierce had the opportunity to check in with head coach Nikki Parsley, along with sophomore Agueda Moroni and junior Abby Julius.
The Lady Flames were picked to finish second in the 2017 BIG EAST Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll, released on Thursday by the conference. Moroni and Julius both garnered individual recognition by being selected to the preseason All-BIG EAST team.
Liberty will play one final exhibition contest at William & Mary on Saturday (1 p.m.). The Lady Flames will commence regular-season play with a home showdown against James Madison on Aug. 26. Liberty, in its second year in the BIG EAST Conference, will open BIG EAST play against Villanova on Sept. 16 in Lynchburg.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Field Hockey Bolsters 2017 Recruiting Class with Four Additions

Liberty Field Hockey Head Coach Nikki Parsley has announced the addition of four student-athletes to its 10-player 2017 recruiting class.
The four players – Greer Wilson, Victoria O'KeeffeMoniek van Aarle and Kennedy Luke – come to Liberty from four different countries. Wilson, O'Keeffe and van Aarle hail from Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, respectively, while Luke is from Pennsylvania.
(L-R) Wilson, O'Keeffe, van Aarle and Luke are the latest additions to the Liberty Lady Flames field hockey program.
"I am very excited to welcome three new international student-athletes from Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands," Parsley stated. "They are all feisty and opportunistic players with great game sense. Greer, Moniek and Victoria are all handy players that add tremendous depth to our lineup."
"Kennedy is an enthusiastic, humble and hard-working goalkeeper. We are thrilled to have her on the team and rounding out our goalkeeper crew for the 2017 season," said Liberty Field Hockey Assistant Coach Jacki Bolt. "With a strong technical and tactical foundation, I look forward to seeing her development, confident that she will become a leader in goal for the Flames."
Greer Wilson (M – Brisbane, Australia/Vermont)
Wilson, a midfielder, joins the Lady Flames as a transfer following two years at Vermont. She started in all 38 games in her two seasons with the Catamounts. As a freshman in 2015, Wilson earned America East All-Rookie team honors.
As the captain of the team during her senior year of high school, Wilson guided her squad to a 15-1 record and Queensland Girls Secondary School Sports Association (QGSSSA) title. For her efforts, the Australian native was tabbed the MVP. Wilson was also named 2013 Northern Suburbs MVP with her club squad, the QLD Schoolgirls field hockey team.
"Liberty is such a unique and special place," Wilson said. "I think choosing Liberty wasn't just about selecting a top field hockey program and reputable school, but to become a part of an accepting family I will have for the rest of my life."
Victoria O'Keeffe (F – Wellington, New Zealand/Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)
O'Keeffe, a forward, joins the Lady Flames following a successful prep career and club career in New Zealand.
As a senior on the Samuel Marsden Collegiate School first XI field hockey team, O'Keeffe guided her squad to a 22-5 record in Premier 1 competition while serving as a team captain and leading her team in scoring (20 goals). O'Keeffe was also on the Capital U18 Regional Representative hockey team that placed fourth nationally. 
As a junior, O'Keeffe was Samuel Marsden's top goal scorer. She also played on the Wellington U18 Association team that placed fifth at the National U18 Association Tournament.
O'Keeffe played club field hockey for Harbour City Hockey (2016-17) and the Karori Hockey Club (2012-15). Her signature moment for Harbour City was winning the Jenny Hair Trophy National Secondary Schools Hockey Tournament in Napier, New Zealand in 2016. O'Keefe also collected first-place finishes with her Karori Hockey team at the Wellington Women's Premier Competition (2015) and the P2 Premier 3 Women's Competition (2013).
"I am so thankful to be able to be a part of the Liberty field hockey team and program, be coached by wonderful coaches and attend such a fabulous university," O'Keeffe stated. "It is a dream come true and goes beyond expectations. Liberty is truly unique, and I am honored to feel part of it."
Moniek van Aarle (F – Schijndel, Netherlands/Maastricht University)
Van Aarle, a forward, will be coming to Liberty after studying at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Van Aarle obtained a bachelor's degree in medicine from Maastricht and will be pursuing her master's degree in human counseling: health & wellness at Liberty.
Over the past five years, van Aarle has played at the club level for SMHC De Hopbel. Van Aarle played in all 95 matches, compiling 53 goals, 26 assists and 89 points. She helped guide the 2015-16 SMHC De Hopbel squad to a third-place finish for the first time in club history. Van Aarle's U18 squad won an indoor championship during the 2012-13 season, and she then went on to captain the team during the 2013-14 season.
"I was looking for a great and understanding field hockey coach and a warm team. I think the Lady Flames field hockey team has both," van Aarle said. "(Coach) Nikki's kindness, compassion and persistence, combined with the Skype conversation with one of my future teammates and the active academic support, makes me certain about signing with Liberty."
Kennedy Luke (GK – New Hope, Pa./New Hope-Solebury High School)
Luke, a goalkeeper, joins the Liberty field hockey squad following a highly successful career at New Hope-Solebury High School.
As a senior, Luke set the school record with 15 shutouts during the season in leading her team to a 14-3 league record and runner-up finishes in the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) as well as in district and regional play. Luke also guided the Lions to their first appearance in the state tournament in the last 25 years.  
For her outstanding play in her final campaign, Luke earned a bevy of awards, including: PA All-State first team, All-Intelligencer first team, BAL first team, Phila Hockey Senior All-Star, 2016 NFHCA selection and team Defensive MVP.
Luke was a three-year varsity letterwinner and served as a team captain. She closed out her career with a school-record 27 shutouts. The New Hope, Pa., native played club field hockey for Mystx FHC.
"The moment I stepped on campus and on that field, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. I visited many schools after that, but in my heart, I was already committed to Liberty," Luke stated. "As much as I love field hockey, I would have gone to the school regardless, so having the opportunity to play means the world to me. It's been such an incredible journey to get here, but I can't imagine it any other way."

2017 Liberty Field Hockey Blog Aug. 15

Friday, Aug. 15, 2017
6:33 p.m.
We are heading back to Lynchburg from Richmond on the bus now. We took off from East Campus Field House just after 10 a.m. for our first exhibition game of 2017. For basically all of the ride there, it rained. As we got closer to Richmond, the rain picked up to a downpour.

Our locker room was in the basketball arena, the Robins Center. As we got ready to head over to the field, the rain subsided, and the sun appeared to be peering out from behind the clouds.

After warmups, it was time to get the party started at the steamy Crenshaw Field. Today was the first time where I inputted stats in StatCrew for field hockey, and it was a really good learning experience. Last year, I served as the caller/spotter, but this year, I want to broaden my skills and be able to enter stats at home contests.

We got off to a quick start, as Agui scored in the first four minutes of the game to put us ahead, 1-0. Richmond rebounded shortly after to tie the game at 1-1. The game went into a stalemate, with the score remained tied at 1 at halftime.

Agui scored her second goal of the day in the 44th minute on a penalty corner, assisted by Mal and Pippa. The Spiders once again answered the bell, countering with a tally of their own in the 53rd minute to even the score at 2 apiece.

Agui completed her hat trick with another short corner goal in the 62nd minute. This time, Ml and Alynn provided the assists. Just over a minute later, Alexis scored on a rebound from a shot from Jill shot, put us ahead, 4-2.

Victoria added a goal on a tip on a ball from Jill, putting Liberty up 5-2 at 66:50. Regulation time expired with the score at 5-2.

After a short break, both teams wanted to practice and simulate overtime, so we began a 15-minute sudden death overtime session. However, as the overtime session started, ominous clouds began rolling in. Just over seven minutes into the session, the day was halted because of lightning and an approaching storm.

We went back to the basketball arena and then headed up to the fourth floor terrace for a shared dinner with the Richmond team and staff. The aroma of barbecue from Mission BBQ wafted in the room. The meal was absolutely outstanding.

We are on the bus now on the way back from Richmond. Overall, it was a good start to the preseason considering training just began five days ago. We leave on Friday at noon for William & Mary and take on the Tribe in an exhibition contest on Saturday. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

LFSN Game On Feature: 2017 Summer Bridge

LFSN Game On recently featured the Liberty Athletics Summer Bridge Program on its 30-minute weekly show, an academic program designed to help Liberty's incoming student-athletes get acclimated to college life.

Over 100 student-athletes took part in Liberty's Summer Bridge program, coordinated by Academic Affairs for Athletics. During the three-week program, new Liberty Flames student-athletes earned six credit hours in the classroom, listened to presentations on relevant topics from notable speakers and built relationships with their new teammates and peers.
Student-athletes also served the community during the month of July at Park View Community Mission. Throughout the 2017-18 academic year, new Liberty student-athletes will serve the Lynchburg community and surrounding area alongside their teammates under the initiative of #FlamesGiveBack. Last year, Liberty student-athletes logged more than 13,000 hours of community service.
Follow Liberty's student-athlete community service efforts throughout the 2017-18 academic year by using the hashtags #FlamesGiveBack and #PayitForward. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

2017 Liberty Field Hockey Blog Aug. 11

Friday, Aug. 11, 2017
10:22 p.m.
Liberty field hockey practices and training started back up yesterday morning. There are 27 players on this year’s team, including 17 returners and 10 newcomers. I met most of the newcomers at Summer Bridge back in July but had yet to see them on the pitch.

I showed up to practice yesterday (Thursday) in the morning right as the girls were finishing up their run test. After the run test, I stayed for a short bit to watch them go through some drills.

At night, I came back to watch the team scrimmage. Kristie brought watermelon, like she traditionally does to the first night practice, so I helped her bring the cooler over to near the field. She cut up three large watermelons, and the girls got a little late night snack at the end of practice. It was good to reconnect with some of the returners and watch them play with the newcomers.

Today (Friday) was quite the busy day with morning practice, afternoon corners and scrimmage at night. Following morning practice, marketing and IT got together up in the press box for a systems test to ensure PA, music, etc. were all in working order for the start of the season (Aug. 26 at home vs. JMU).

During the afternoon session, the girls were split up and worked on corners on each end of the field. After practice, Nick and Tim did interviews with Coach Nikki, Alynn and Cass for a preseason update piece that I would post before I left work.

After the interviews, I got the chance to talk to a good amount of the sophomores and see how their summers were. They are now the “Crafty Sophomores”-we’ll see if the term and title sticks.

I came back around 7:55 to watch the evening’s scrimmage, which featured four segments (three 15-minute, one 10-minute). There was certainly some strong competition out there. It rained for some portions of the scrimmage and then would stop by a bit before starting back up. The girls are back at it again tomorrow for practice.

Last year’s mission for the team was “SOW BIG”, and this year it is “Just One”.

On Tuesday, we head to Richmond for a scrimmage against the Spiders.

2017 Field Hockey Preseason Update

The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team is in its first week of preseason training in preparation for the 2017 season.

This afternoon, the Liberty Flames Sports Network's (LFSN) Nick Pierce caught up with first-year head coach Nikki Parsley, as well as senior captains Cassidy Bremner and Alynn Richardson
The Lady Flames will play a pair of exhibition contests against in-state foes, starting next Tuesday at Richmond (2 p.m.). Liberty will travel to William & Mary for an exhibition game against the Tribe on Aug. 19 (1 p.m.).
The Lady Flames will open regular-season competition on Aug. 26 (1 p.m.) at home versus James Madison. Liberty, who is in its second season in the BIG EAST Conference, will begin BIG EAST play on Sept. 16 against Villanova at the Liberty Field Hockey Field. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lady Flames Place 17 on BIG EAST All-Academic Team

The Liberty field hockey team placed 17 student-athletes on the BIG EAST All-Academic Team, as announced by the conference on Wednesday.
Seventeen Liberty field hockey student-athletes achieved BIG EAST All-Academic Team status.
To be eligible for the honor, nominees must have competed in a BIG EAST-sponsored sport, attained a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 for the preceding academic year and completed a minimum of two consecutive semesters or three consecutive quarters of academic work.
Liberty's honorees include nine freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and three seniors. In total, 140 student-athletes from the BIG EAST's eight field hockey squads were represented on the all-academic team.
The Lady Flames enjoyed a successful year on the field, as well, finishing runner-up in both regular-season play and at the 2016 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship in their inaugural season in the league.
Overall, 2,501 student-athletes across 22 sports earned BIG EAST All-Academic Team accolades during the 2016-17 academic year, the most in the four years since conference realignment.
Lady Flames on the BIG EAST All-Academic Team
Sydney Baffone (Fr.)
Bethany Barr (Sr.)
Serena Barr (Sr.)
Pippa Best (So.)
Cassidy Bremner (Jr.)
Mallory Fortenbaugh (Fr.)
Merich Frizzell (Fr.)
Kendra Jones (Fr.)
Jenny Kurlej (Fr.)
Carrie Logie (Sr.)
Agueda Moroni (Fr.)
Summer Parker (Jr.)
Lindsay Pratt (So.)
Alynn Richardson (Jr.)
Zosia Roberts (Fr.)
Annika Roberts (Fr.)
Allison Schaefer (Fr.)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#FlamesGiveBack July 2017 Recap

New Liberty Flames student-athletes served the community during the month of July at Park View Community Mission, in the first of many community service events for the #FlamesGiveBack campaign.
Throughout the 2017-18 academic year, Liberty student-athletes will serve the Lynchburg community and surrounding area under the initiative of #FlamesGiveBack. Last year, Liberty student-athletes logged more than 13,000 hours of community service.
Summer Bridge student-athletes collected personal hygiene items to donate to Park View. Those items were then distributed to the families in need during the two Saturdays (July 15 and 22) that Summer Bridge students volunteered at the Park View Community Mission in downtown Lynchburg.

On both days, incoming Liberty Flames student-athletes spent five hours each day unloading donated food from delivery trucks, sorting and organizing the food for distribution in the pantry. The team of student-athletes then assisted in running the distribution to families by checking them in, carrying their groceries to their cars and loading up grocery carts with food items.
"Without the community, without the fans, there really is no football team. They support us," said Flames freshman football student-athlete Elisha Mitchell. "I come from having that type of need, so it means a lot to me to give back and help others."
Liberty Academic & Student-Athlete Development Coordinator Jordan Bartlett and the rest of the Academic Affairs for Athletics Staff helped organize the efforts. Bartlett said the Summer Bridge community service initiative helped serve a three-fold purpose, starting with serving the community.
Secondly, it helped acclimate new student-athletes with the Park View facility, a place Liberty Athletics volunteers regularly throughout the year. Finally, the opportunity enables student-athletes to jump right in to serving with the rest of their teams beginning in September.
"You kind of learn the ropes, you know what to expect and how to do it better next time, to be more efficient and helpful," stated Lady Flames freshman softball student-athlete Madison Via. "It means a lot to me to be able to give back to this community because they support us in our sports."
Liberty Flames athletic teams volunteer at Park View Community Mission's Food For Families Days at least twice a month during the school year.
As student-athletes return in August and beginning preparing for their respective sports seasons, their next initiative will be to raise funds for the Dollar Makes a Difference Campaign. In 2016, Liberty athletics teams raised a new record amount.
The money raised from the campaign will be used to purchase school supplies such as folders, backpacks, pens, crayons, markers, glue sticks and notebooks. These supplies will be distributed throughout the Lynchburg City Schools as well as schools in Roanoke City, Amherst County and Campbell County districts. 
Follow Liberty's student-athlete community service efforts throughout the 2017-18 academic year by using the hashtags #FlamesGiveBack and #PayitForward. 

Quinn Hired as Lacrosse Assistant Coach

Liberty Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Kelly Nangle has announced the hiring of Tori Quinn as an assistant coach for the Lady Flames.
Quinn comes to Liberty after serving as an assistant coach for two years (2015-17) at Canisius. She also enjoyed a successful four-year playing career for the Griffins.
"I am extremely thankful and excited for the opportunity to join Kelly (Nangle) and her staff and become a part of the Liberty lacrosse family," Quinn stated. "Her passion and dedication to continue to build and take Liberty lacrosse to the next level nationally is what ultimately led me to choose this position."
Quinn joins the Liberty lacrosse staff as an assistant coach.
Quinn will be responsible for helping coach the Lady Flames' offense as well as working with the goalkeepers. She will also assist with recruiting.
In two years as an assistant at Canisius, Quinn coached 17 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) All-Conference players. The Griffins finished 2017 with the most wins (15) and fewest losses (5) in program history, while winning the MAAC Championship to earn a spot in the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship.
Quinn coached three student-athletes who broke program records during the 2017 season, including 2017 Tewaaraton Award Semifinalist Erica Evans.
"I am extremely excited to welcome Tori to our Flames family. Tori has an undeniable passion for the sport that will make an immediate impact on our players," Liberty Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Kelly Nangle said. "Adding Tori to our staff is going to help us continue to grow and take this program to new heights. We are excited to add her enthusiasm, energy and experience to the program!" 
In Quinn's six years as a Griffins player and assistant coach, the team won five conference titles. The Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, native finished her playing career as one of the most celebrated players in program history.
Quinn earned Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Regional All-America honors on three separate occasions and was a three-time MAAC Offensive Player of the Year. She closed out her career with 154 goals, 97 assists and 251 points in a Griffins uniform.
The native of Canada graduated from Canisius in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in physical education/health. She then went on receive her master's degree in sport administration and management from Canisius in 2017. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Schwandt Adds Samaai to Coaching Staff

Liberty Men's Tennis Head Coach Derek Schwandt has announced the addition of Egon Samaai as the Flames' volunteer assistant coach.
Samaai enjoyed a successful playing career for the Flames from 2012-16 and served as a volunteer assistant for the team in spring 2017. In his role, Samaai will provide assistance to the program's coaching and administrative operations.

Samaai will serve as the Flames' volunteer assistant coach.
"It's an honor to have Egon join our team. He loves the game, is hungry to coach, and he is an outstanding model of servant leadership," stated Liberty Men's Tennis Head Coach Derek Schwandt. "As a Liberty alum, Egon is passionate about building something special with Flames tennis."
Samaai compiled 74 singles victories in his four-year career at Liberty, which is tied for the most in program history. He also racked up 76 doubles triumphs (No. 3 in Flames' history) and was named to the Big South All-Conference Doubles team in both 2013 and 2014.
As a senior, the Cape Town, South Africa, native served as a team captain and captured a singles crown at the Wake Forest Invitational. During his junior campaign, Samaai was tabbed Big South Player of the Week three times and earned ECAC Men's Tennis Player of the Week honors once.
Samaai made an immediate impact during his first two years at Liberty. He was declared a Big South flight winner at the No. 1 doubles position as a freshman and was the Big South No. 1 doubles leader with teammate Dillon Segur as a sophomore.
Samaai earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management from Liberty in 2016. He is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Sport Management and expects to complete it in December 2018. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lady Flames Named 2017 ITA All-Academic Team for Fifth Consecutive Year

2017 All-Academic Teams & Scholar Athletes - Division I Women

The Liberty women's tennis program earned its status as a 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Team for a fifth straight year, as announced by the ITA on Tuesday.

The listing is comprised of programs with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.20 or higher. Liberty women's tennis posted a 3.34 GPA during the 2016-17 academic year and holds a 3.41 cumulative GPA.

In addition, Mariely Hassey, Emily Groeneveld, Evangeline Crist and Aleksandra Panchenko were each named to the 2017 ITA Scholar-Athlete team.

The Liberty women's tennis program earned its status as a 2017 ITA All-Academic Team for a fifth straight year and placed four student-athletes on the 2017 ITA Scholar-Athlete team.
To be eligible for the ITA individual listing, a student-athlete must be a varsity letterwinner, possess a GPA of 3.50 or greater for the current academic year and have been enrolled at the institution for two semesters.

"I'm proud of how hard our girls work in the classroom. It is a testament to their commitment to be excellent in all phases of their lives – academics, athletics, social and spiritual," stated Liberty Women's Tennis Head Coach Jeff Maren. "I have no doubt that we will continue this level of excellence again this year."

Hassey's selection is her fourth consecutive appearance on the ITA Scholar-Athlete team. Groeneveld and Crist are both making their third appearances on the squad, while Panchenko is appearing on the team for the first time.

Hassey graduated with a bachelor's degree in human resource management and is working on a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree at Liberty. The Surprise, Az., native out her career second place all-time in program history in singles victories (69), including a team-best 20 singles triumphs as a senior.

Groeneveld, who is currently working on her master's degree in human services counseling: crisis response and trauma, was Liberty's representative on the Big South All-Academic team. During her senior season, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native finished tied for second on the squad in singles wins (17) and third in doubles victories (16). The senior closed out her playing career with the ninth-most doubles victories in Lady Flames' tennis history (49).

Crist, a business administration – digital marketing and advertising major, was named to the 2017 Big South All-Conference second team in singles and the VaSID All-State Doubles first team with partner Anna Dollar. Crist closed her junior campaign with 17 singles victories (tied for second on team) and 19 doubles wins (second on team). The Lilburn, Ga., native is currently third in Liberty women's tennis history with 67 singles victories, needing 21 wins to surpass the all-time leader, Jordan Jenkins (87 wins, 2008-11). She also sits at No. 3 in doubles wins with 74, needing 17 to surpass the all-time leader, Valerie Thong (90 wins, 2013-16).

Panchenko, who is undecided upon her major at this point, collected 13 total doubles wins and four singles victories as a sophomore. The Moscow, Russia, native teamed with fellow sophomore Rebekah Anderson for a Maroon doubles flight title at the season-opening Elon Fall Invitational.
In total, 720 teams and 3,908 student-athletes across all five divisions of college tennis were recognized. At the Division I level, 302 teams and 1,521 scholar-athletes were honored.

Burton, Poynter Honored as 2017 ITA Scholar-Athletes

2017 All-Academic Teams & Scholar Athletes - Division I Men

The Liberty Flames men's tennis program placed a pair of student-athletes, Chase Burton and Alex Poynter, on the list of 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athletes.

Burton and Poynter were both named on the list of 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athletes.
To qualify for the academic honor, a student-athlete must be a letterwinner with a 3.50 or higher GPA for the current academic year while having been enrolled at the school for two semesters. After Burton and Poynter were named ITA Scholar-Athletes, Liberty men's tennis has now had 11 players in program history tabbed to the ITA Scholar-Athlete team.

Burton, a mechanical engineering major, enjoyed a highly successful year in the classroom and on the court as a freshman. The Naples, Fla., native was named to the Big South Conference First Team All-Conference singles list. He was also selected to the VaSID All-State Men's Tennis singles second team, the first Flames freshman in program history to garner the distinction. The two-time Big South Freshman of the Week paced the squad in singles victories with 18 and finished tied for second in doubles triumphs (12).

Poynter, a business administration major, posted 10 doubles wins with partner Diego Castano during the year, the most of any Flames tandem. Poynter and Castano won the Black doubles flight at the N.C. State Invite during the fall campaign. The Houston, Texas, native also collected three singles victories as a sophomore.

Liberty's men's tennis program currently holds a 3.15 cumulative GPA, the highest among Liberty's NCAA Division I men's athletics programs. The team posted a 3.19 team GPA during the 2016-17 academic year, also highest among Flames men's teams.

In total, 720 teams and 3,908 student-athletes across all five divisions of college tennis were recognized. At the Division I level, 302 teams and 1,521 scholar-athletes were honored.

Barr Tabbed 2016-17 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award Winner

BIG EAST Release 

Liberty field hockey student-athlete Serena Barr was one of 22 BIG EAST Conference student-athletes to be recognized as a 2016-17 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award winner, as announced by the league on Wednesday.

Barr was one of 22 BIG EAST student-athletes to be named a Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award winner. (Photo credit: Mitch Leff)
The Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards are handed out to one student-athlete in each BIG EAST sponsored sport based on academic credentials, athletic accomplishments and volunteer service to the community. Barr was the lone BIG EAST field hockey student-athlete to receive the recognition among the conference's eight teams, chosen by the BIG EAST Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) Council.

The list of 22 athletes features 16 seniors, four juniors and two graduate students. Barr graduated summa cum laude from Liberty in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in public health and a perfect 4.00 GPA.

"Serena continually displays excellence through her commitment to achievement academically, socially and athletically," stated Liberty Senior Associate Athletics Director – Academic Affairs Kristie Beitz. "Her ability to motivate her peers to perform at a superior level is a reflection of her leadership and commitment to excellence."

During the summer months, Barr has continued to collect accolades. The Lurgan, Northern Ireland, native was selected to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District™ III Women's At-Large Team and received the Big South Conference's prestigious Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence in the month of May.

In June, Barr was named to the 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America® At-Large second team. She also was nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, one of 229 Division I student-athletes nominated for the prestigious award. Earlier in July, Barr was one of six Liberty student-athletes to earn a spot on the 2016-17 Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Academic All-State Team.

Seton Hall paced the BIG EAST with five honorees, followed by Villanova with four and Butler with three. Liberty (Barr) and Temple (Brenda McDermott, women's lacrosse) were the two affiliate members represented in the 2016-17 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards winners.

3 Lady Flames Tabbed to IWLCA Academic Honor Roll

IWLCA Academic Honor Roll Release

Three Liberty women's lacrosse players – Courtney Brown, Victoria Tickle and Faith Wells – were named to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Zag Sports Division I Academic Honor Roll, as announced by the IWLCA on Wednesday afternoon.

To be eligible for the honor, student-athletes must be a junior, senior or graduate student and have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or greater. The IWLCA recognized 402 student-athletes from 102 different institutions across the country.

Liberty has boasted three student-athletes in the listing on three separate occasions (2011, 2015 and 2017).

"I am extremely proud of Courtney, Tori and Faith for this accomplishment," said Liberty Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Kelly Nangle. "They are excellent examples of student-athletes, and it is great to see them rewarded for all of their hard work off the field."

Brown's selection marks the second academic award of the 2016-17 academic year for the Ladera Ranch, Calif., native. She was named to the Big South All-Academic squad in April for her efforts in the classroom. Brown, a Big South All-Conference second team and Big South All-Tournament team honoree, graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in industrial and systems engineering.

Tickle is making her first appearance on the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll. The Fairfax, Va., native enjoyed a successful year both in the classroom and on the field, as she was a Big South All-Conference second team and VaSID All-State first team selection in 2017. Tickle graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in elementary education integrated studies: English.

Wells graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in elementary education integrated studies: English. The native of Haymarket, Va. served as a team captain in 2017.

Liberty was one of four Big South schools with three or more student-athletes named to the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll, along with High Point, Presbyterian and Winthrop.

Monday, July 24, 2017

5 Liberty Student-Athletes Participate in Big South Leadership Conference

Big South Video Recap
Five Liberty student-athletes recently participated in the Big South Conference's 11th annual Student-Athlete Leadership Conference, held July 7-9 in Black Mountain, N.C.

Diego Castano (men's tennis), Jessica Cicerchia (softball), Evangeline Crist (women's tennis), Jeff Jacobs (men's track and field) and Morgan Weigner (swimming and diving) represented Liberty at the three-day conference.

(L-R) Jessica Cicerchia, Jeff Jacobs, Morgan Weigner, Diego Castano and Evangeline Crist represented Liberty at the 2017 Big South Student-Athlete Leadership Conference.
Forty Big South student-athletes participated in the conference, as this year marked the first time that every Big South institution and every sport was represented at the event.

"The leadership conference was a great opportunity to really gain wisdom and advice from people who are providing us opportunities to grow as athletes and become well-rounded people, as well as creating meaningful friendships with athletes from other schools," Weigner said. "It truly made me so grateful to be a Flame and motivated me to be a good steward of the blessings we have at Liberty and the chance we are given to better ourselves and the teams we represent."

Musco Sports Lighting served as the sponsor of the event, with Musco's staff members among those presenting. Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander provided a Big South Conference update at the beginning of the leadership conference, and various special guests spoke at the conference throughout the weekend.
Participants had the chance to learn alongside student-athletes from other schools in the conference through leadership discussions and team-building activities.

"The leadership conference was an incredible opportunity to connect with other athletes in the conference without the wall of competition between us. It gave us the chance to build connections with people we normally would not be able to connect with," Jacobs stated. "I loved watching the speakers walk a group of 60 athletes through Biblical truth and wisdom without using the Bible specifically. I personally took away a lot of great ideas and tools to turn myself and my team into better leaders on campus and on the track. The Big South did an incredible job running the retreat, and all of the athletes involved were amazing people."

Representatives from Growing Leaders, a leadership training and development company, also shared their knowledge with the student-athletes.

Timothy Alexander also spoke to the student-athletes. Alexander, who was recruited to play football at UAB, was involved in a car accident in October of 2006 that left him paralyzed.

Alexander used the accident as motivation to help bring the UAB football program, as well as bowling and rifle at the school. In July of 2016, Alexander stood up unassisted for the first time in 10 years.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Liberty Lacrosse to Hold Inaugural Prospect Day on Aug. 19

In advance of the 2017-18 school year, the Liberty women's lacrosse program will be holding its inaugural Prospect Day on Aug. 19.
The Liberty Lady Flames women's lacrosse program will be hosting the 2017 Prospect Day on Aug. 19.
The 2017 Prospect Day will be hosted at the East Campus fields (2200 Liberty Mountain Dr., Lynchburg, VA 24502). Check-in will be held from 8:15-9 a.m., and the camp will dismiss at 3 p.m. The clinic is open to any and all entrants limited only by number, age, grade and/or gender.
The prospect day will feature a skill session (9-11 a.m.), lunch, academic talk and tour (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and game session (1-3 p.m.). Liberty lacrosse camps focus on teaching the skills, concepts and game situations that will give each player confidence to make decisions on the field and prepare them to play at the next level.
The Liberty Lacrosse complex features two synthetic turf fields recently replaced in November 2016, as well as a team clubhouse including locker rooms, a team room equipped with a full kitchen, a players' lounge and the coaches' offices.
To register for the 2017 Prospect Day, click on the Lacrosse Clinics tab on the lacrosse page on, or see below.
For questions, please contact Liberty Lacrosse Assistant Coach Nina Dunay ( or 434-582-2144).