Monday, January 30, 2017

Lady Flames to Begin Spring Season vs. Longwood, Wednesday

The Liberty women's tennis team will begin its spring campaign on Wednesday against Big South opponent Longwood.
The match is set for a 2 p.m. start at the Crosswhite Athletic Club, formerly the Sports Racket, in Lynchburg.
The Liberty women's tennis team will begin its spring campaign vs. Big South opponent Longwood, Wednesday in Lynchburg.
2016 Recap
Last spring, Liberty posted a 15-10 overall mark, including a program-best eight wins in Big South Conference play. The Lady Flames earned a share of the conference's regular season crown with Winthrop and the top seed for the 2016 Big South Women's Tennis Championship, hosted on their home courts at the Cook Tennis Center.
After defeating Radford and Charleston Southern to reach the title match, the Lady Flames were edged, 4-3, by No. 2 seed Winthrop.
Series History
The Lady Flames lead the Lancers, 11-4, in the all-time series. Liberty bested Longwood, 6-1, on April 5, 2016, in Farmville, Va.
The victory allowed the Lady Flames to capture a share of the Big South regular-season title for the first time since 2011 and second time in program history.
Experienced Roster
Liberty spring roster is comprised of one freshman (Eugenia Camacho), four sophomores (Rebekah Anderson, Audrey BrownAnna Dollar and Aleksandra Panchenko), one junior (Evangeline Crist) and two seniors (Emily Groeneveld and Mariely Hassey).
Crist was a Big South First Team All-Conference singles and doubles player in 2016 as well as a VASID All-State Doubles first team selection. Dollar was a Big South Second Team All-Conference doubles and VaSID All-State Doubles second team selection.
2017 Big South Outlook
Liberty was selected to finish second in the Big South Conference women's tennis preseason poll.
The Lady Flames garnered one first-place vote and seven second-place votes for 72 points. Winthrop received seven of the nine possible first-place votes for 79 points and its 14th consecutive No. 1 preseason ranking.
Charleston Southern garnered the remaining first-place vote and eight third-place votes for 65 points. Campbell (53 points), Radford (37 points), UNC Asheville (37 points), Gardner-Webb (27 points), Presbyterian (24 points) and Longwood (11 points) rounded out the poll.
The 2017 Big South Women's Tennis Championship will be played at Wake Forest, April 20-23, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Scouting Longwood
Longwood (0-1) opened its 2017 spring campaign with a 5-0 loss to Temple at the VCU 4x1 Invitational, Sunday.
In 2016, the Lancers placed eighth in the Big South with a 2-7 mark and 10-14 overall record. Their spring 2017 roster is made up of two freshmen, a sophomore and three seniors.

Flames Edge Big Blues, 4-3, in 2nd Match of Day

The Liberty Flames men's tennis team captured a 4-3 win over Bluefield State in the second match of the day, Saturday night, at Crosswhite Athletic Club.
Following a 5-2 over King University earlier in the day, Liberty improves to 2-0 on the young season and 8-0 all-time against Bluefield State.
The Flames started the evening by sweeping the doubles matches and winning the first two singles matches. However, the Big Blues clawed back into the match with a pair of wins from the No. 2 and No. 4 positions and extended the final two matches of the night to three sets.
Ultimately, it was junior captain Diego Castano who sealed the overall win. The Statesville, N.C., native traded sets with BSC's Luca Ockernahl before taking the final set, 6-2, to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Liberty's Chase Burton and Max Borcuti earned the first victory of the night at No. 1 doubles, leading throughout on the way to a 6-2 win over the Big Blues' pairing of Anthony Braem and Alexandr Rudenco. Vince Salas and Castano followed suit by controlling their match in a 6-2 triumph over Giorgi Datashvili and Luca Ockernahl.
Sophomores Ryker Heller and Eddie Gutierrez had a more difficult path to victory. Leading 5-4 on Platon Gud and Guillermo Lopez, Heller served them to a 6-4 victory and an early 1-0 overall lead for the Flames.
Burton squared off with Braem in the No. 1 singles slot. In the first set, the two were tied, 5-5, before Burton won the final two games for a 7-5 victory. In the second set, the freshman led the senior throughout, building a 5-2 lead on the way to a 6-3 triumph and straight-set victory, 7-6, 6-3.
Burton paired up with Borcuti for a doubles win and also took care of business in straight sets at No. 1 singles against Bluefield State.
The Flames added to their lead with a No. 3 singles victory from Gutierrez over Gud, 7-5, 6-2. Trailing 5-4 in the first set, Gutierrez won the next three for a 7-5 win. He then dominated the second set in earning a 7-5, 6-2 victory, giving Liberty a 3-0 advantage in the match.
However, the momentum shifted to the Bluefield State side with a pair of three-set match victories. First, Datashvili knocked off Borcuti, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1, in the No. 4 slot. Borcuti trailed 4-1 in the second set before rallying to win six of the final seven games and force a third set. But it was Datasvili who prevailed with a 6-1 set three victory.
In similar fashion, Liberty's Salas fell in the first set to Gud before winning the second. Salas led, 5-3, in the third set, but Rudenco took the final four games to win, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 and slice the Liberty lead to 3-2.
At No. 5, Castano and Ockernahl traded 6-4 results in the opening two sets, while at the same time, Heller and Panariti traded sets at No. 6. Castano stormed out to a 3-0 lead on Ockernahl and clinched the match with a 6-2 set three win and 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 overall triumph. Heller went on to lose to Panariti, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, bringing the final score to 4-3 for the home side.
"Two matches today really stretched our team mentally and physically," said Liberty Head Men's Tennis Coach Chris Johnson. "I was really proud of our young team for the way they gutted out each match. We look forward to working hard for James Madison, next week."    
The Flames return to action next Saturday, when they host James Madison at 1 p.m. at the Crosswhite Athletic Club.

Liberty Collects Win over King in Season Opener

The Liberty men's tennis team opened its spring slate with a 5-2 victory over visiting King at the Crosswhite Athletic Club.
With the win, the Flames improve to 1-0 on the season and 3-0 in the all-time series against King, while the Tornado falls to 2-2 on the year.
Liberty took the doubles point to start the day by winning two of three matches. Vince Salas and Diego Castano dropped a 6-3 decision to Alejandro Feliciano and Lennard Keswani at No. 2 doubles, but the remaining two Flames doubles teams won in narrow fashion to capture the match's first overall point.
The No. 1 doubles squad of Eddie Gutierrez and Ryker Heller played a tight match against the pairing of Moritz Poswiat and Lennard Neumann and came out on top. The pair of sophomores led 6-5 before King knotted the match up at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. Gutierrez and Heller prevailed in the tiebreaker to win, 7-6 (7-3).
Shortly thereafter, Liberty's No. 3 team of Chase Burton and Samuel Brown topped the Tornado's Kyle Logue and Charles Jabaley, breaking their serve to earn a 7-5 victory.
In singles play, Gutierrez jumped out to a 4-1 edge in both sets en route to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Feliciano at No. 3 singles. In the No. 2 spot, Salas led throughout most of his match on the way to a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Keswani to put Liberty up 3-0.
Gutierrez teamed up with Heller for a doubles victory and also won in singles against King on Saturday.
Burton clinched the overall match for the Flames with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Poswiat at No. 1 singles. The Naples, Fla., native led 4-3 in set one before taking two of the final three games. In the second set, the freshman led 6-5 and broke serve to capture the match.
After sitting out of doubles play, Max Borcuti was slotted in the No. 5 singles spot to face King's Arturo Alcaro. Trailing 4-3 in set one, the sophomore took the final three games to win the first set. Using the momentum, Borcuti cruised to a 6-1 second set victory to win, 6-4, 6-1.
In the final match of the afternoon, Heller dropped his match to Jabaley, 6-4, 0-6, 1-0 (10-5) to settle the final outcome at 5-2. The final set was played as a tiebreaker up to 10 points.
Liberty plays its second match of the day at 6 p.m. against Bluefield State.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Flames to Open Spring Slate on Saturday vs. King and Bluefield State

The Liberty men's tennis team will begin its spring season on Saturday with a home doubleheader against King and Bluefield State.

The Flames will take on King at 1 p.m. and Bluefield State at 6 p.m. at the Crosswhite Athletic Club, formerly the Sports Racket, in Lynchburg.

Castano and the Flames begin their spring season on Saturday with a home doubleheader against King and Bluefield State.
2016 Recap
Last spring, Liberty went 11-11 and 4-4 in Big South play. Liberty Head Men's Tennis Coach Chris Johnson eclipsed the century mark in career victories, and junior Sam Matheson was tabbed the Big South Men's Tennis Player of the Year.

The Flames garnered the No. 5 seed for the 2016 Big South Men's Tennis Championship and bested No. 4 seed Gardner Webb in the quarterfinals before losing to No. 1 seed and eventual league champion Coastal Carolina.

Series History
Liberty has never lost to King or Bluefield State. The Flames hold a 2-0 advantage over King, after picking up a 5-2 win over the Tornado on Jan. 30, 2016 at the Sports Racket.

Liberty is 7-0 all-time against Bluefield State. The Flames last defeated the Big Blues, 6-1, on Jan. 30, 2015.

Youth Being Served
Liberty's 2016-17 roster is made up of three freshmen (Samuel Brown, Chase Burton and Vince Salas), four sophomores (Max Borcuti, Eddie Gutierrez, Ryker Heller and Alex Poynter) and a junior (Diego Castano).

Burton enters his first spring campaign ranked No. 19 in singles in the Atlantic Region, while Salas posted a team-best 8-4 mark in singles play during the fall. The Flames' strongest doubles pairing in the fall was Castano and Poynter, who went 6-1.

2017 Big South Outlook
The Flames (41 points) were picked to finish fourth in the Big South Conference men's tennis preseason poll. Winthrop (54 points) earned the top spot, followed by Presbyterian (52 points) and Campbell (50 points).

Gardner-Webb (35 points) was selected to finish fifth, followed by UNC Asheville (27 points), Radford (16 points) and Longwood (13 points).

Liberty's Big South schedule will start on March 1 vs. Longwood in Lynchburg. The 2017 Big South Men's Tennis Championship will be played at Wake Forest, April 19-21, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Scouting King
The Tornado is off to a 2-1 start this season after finishing with a 13-11 record and 7-3 mark in Conference Carolinas play during the 2015-16 campaign.

The 2016-17 roster features one freshman, four sophomores, two juniors and two seniors.

Scouting Bluefield State
The Big Blues have yet to compete this spring after playing in four tournaments in the fall. However, they are ranked No. 41 in the 2016-17 Oracle/ITA Division II Men's Collegiate Tennis Rankings.

Bluefield State has won the Atlantic Region title five straight years in a row and features a roster of one freshman, four juniors and two seniors. Junior Alexandr Rudenco is the team's top singles player and is ranked No. 3 in the region. The Big Blues were 21-8 in the spring of 2016 and advanced to the NCAA National Championships at the Division II level.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Liberty to Host 2017 ITA Men's Tennis Atlantic Regional

For the first time in athletics department history, Liberty will serve as one of 12 sites for the ITA Division I Men's Tennis Regional.
Liberty will host the 2017 ITA Atlantic Regional on Oct. 19-23, at the Hershey-Esbenshade Tennis Courts. This past fall, Liberty made several facility upgrades for its tennis programs, including the additional of six more competition courts and permanent seating for its six championship courts outside the Tennis Cook Center.
"It is a great honor for Liberty to serve as a regional host for this ITA event," said Ian McCaw, Liberty's Director of Athletics. "Our tennis facilities are among the best in the region and we look forward to making the event a tremendous success."
Liberty will serve as one of 12 sites for the ITA Division I Men's Tennis Regional for the first time in athletics department history.
The event will mark the second time Liberty has hosted an ITA Regional event. Liberty served as the host of the 2015 ITA Division I Women's Tennis Regional, Oct. 15-19.
"It's really an honor for Liberty to host the ITA Atlantic Regional Tournament. It will be an outstanding opportunity for other schools to see what a first-class facility we have," said Liberty Head Men's Tennis Coach Chris Johnson, who is also the chair of the Atlantic Regional Committee. "We won the doubles in this event a few years back and advanced to the National Indoor Championships in New York. We would love to get back there for sure and hosting certainly helps make that happen."
In October 2013, Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero became the first-ever Liberty men's doubles team to win the regional title and advance to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
This past fall, Liberty freshman Chase Burton became the first Flame since Thomas in 2013 to advance to the round of 16 in the singles main draw at the ITA Regionals.
2017 ITA Division I Men's Tennis Regional Hosts
Northwest: Pacific (Oct. 19-23)
Southwest: Pepperdine (Oct. 19-23)
Mountain: BYU (Oct. 18-21)
Texas: Texas A&M (Oct. 19-23)
Central: Minnesota (Oct. 19-23)
Midwest: Michigan (Oct. 19-23)
Northeast: Yale (Oct. 18-23)
Ohio Valley: Tennessee (TBD)
Atlantic: Liberty (Oct. 19-23)
Carolina: Duke (Oct. 13-17)
Southern: LSU (Oct. 19-23)
Southeast: Georgia Tech (Dates TBD)

Field Hockey Announces Winter Clinic Details

The Liberty field hockey program recently announced details for its 2017 Field Hockey Winter Clinic.
The winter clinic will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Liberty Field Hockey Complex (2200 Liberty Mountain Dr., Lynchburg, VA 24502) from 1-3 p.m. This clinic is open to any and all entrants ages 13-18. The cost is $95 per player, and checks should be made payable to Winning Edge.
The Liberty field hockey winter clinic will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11 from 1-3 p.m.
To register for the winter clinic, click on the Field Hockey Camps and Clinics tab on the field hockey page on
For questions, please contact Liberty Head Field Hockey Coach Nikki Parsley (

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lacrosse Selected to Finish Fourth in Big South Conference

The Liberty women's lacrosse team has been tabbed to finish fourth in the Big South Conference women's lacrosse preseason poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches.

Additionally, sophomore attacker Kayla Foster and sophomore midfielder Brianna McCaffrey were both named to the Big South's preseason all-conference team.

Foster, the 2016 Big South Freshman of the Year and VaSID Rookie of the Year, tallied 22 goals, 29 assists (first on team) and a team-best 51 points in her rookie campaign. Foster wrapped up the 2016 season on a high note, scoring six goals and dishing out 12 assists in the final four contests. The Sewickley, Pa., native was also selected to the Big South All-Conference second team and VaSID All-State second team while being named to the Inside Women's Lacrosse All-Rookie team.

McCaffrey, a Big South All-Conference second team selection as a freshman, competed in all 18 contests for the Lady Flames, tallying 13 goals, three assists and 16 points. The Boca Raton, Fla., native won a team-high 42 draw controls while scooping up 24 ground balls and causing 16 turnovers. She closed the season strong, scoring nine goals over the team's final seven games.

The Liberty lacrosse team took a preseason trip to Seabrook Island, S.C., to prepare for the upcoming season.
The Flames garnered one second-place vote in the poll and 40 total points. High Point, the runner-up to Winthrop at the 2016 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship, received six first-place votes and was picked to finish first in the league (62 points). Winthrop followed closely behind with the remaining two first-place votes and 55 points, followed by Campbell (47 points).

Longwood (36 points), Presbyterian (18 points), Radford (18 points) and Gardner-Webb (12 points) rounded out the poll.

In 2016, Liberty finished fifth in the Big South with a 4-4 mark in conference play. League victories came at home against Longwood (11-10), Gardner-Webb (16-10), at Radford (20-4) and against Presbyterian (21-6) on Senior Day.

Liberty Head Lacrosse Coach Kelly Nangle's squad is comprised of eight freshmen, 10 sophomores, three juniors and seven seniors. Redshirt senior Melanie Via, a Big South Conference honorable mention in 2016, and redshirt junior Faith Wells will serve as captains for the Lady Flames.

Liberty opens its 2017 slate at Notre Dame on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. The Irish closed 2016 with a 13-6 mark and No. 7 ranking in the Inside Lacrosse Poll. The Lady Flames begin Big South play on April 1 at Presbyterian at noon.

The 2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship will be held on April 29, May 5 and May 7.

2017 Big South Conference Women's Lacrosse Poll
Team (first-place votes) Total Points

1. High Point (6) 62
2. Winthrop (2) 55
3. Campbell 47
4. Liberty 40
5. Longwood 36
T-6. Presbyterian 18
T-6. Radford 18
8. Gardner-Webb 12

ATT   Samantha Brown, Sr., High Point
ATT   Kayla Foster, Soph., Liberty
ATT   Kristen Shriver, Jr., Winthrop
MF    Erica Perrotta, Jr., High Point
MF    Amanda Steinmuller, Jr., Gardner-Webb
MF    Madison Stair, Jr., Longwood
MF    Brianna McCaffrey, Soph., Liberty
MF    Melissa Placek, Campbell
D      Erin O'Hara, Sr., Campbell
D      Maura Talvacchia, Sr., Presbyterian
D      Paige Jenkins, Sr., Winthrop
GK    Alaina Girani, Jr., Winthrop
AL    Kayla Reilly, Jr., Campbell
AL    Samantha Herman, Soph., High Point
AL    Callie Bonnel, Soph., Radford

Samantha Brown, Sr., High Point

Erin O'Hara, Sr., Campbell

Julius Named to U.S. U-21 Women's National Team

After participating in the USA Field Hockey U-21 selection camp, Liberty sophomore field hockey player Abby Julius has been selected to the 2017 U.S. U-21 Women's National Team roster.
Julius is the first player in Liberty field hockey history to earn selection to the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team.

"It's a huge honor, and I feel really blessed to be given this opportunity," Julius said. "It really feels good to get the validation that all of the time and energy I've put into this sport is really paying off, and has been so worth it."

The roster, comprised of 26 players from across the nation, was selected by current U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Janneke Schopman based on performance at U-21 training camps, high performance and Junior National Camps, the Young Women's National Championship and during the college season. The final training camp took place this past Sunday-Tuesday at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa.

According to USA Field Hockey, "the selection process took into account the willingness to learn and athletes' abilities to improve and grow with the ultimate goal to become a national team player."

Julius was a second team All-BIG EAST honoree for the Lady Flames in 2016. She totaled five goals, four assists and 14 points in 17 contests as a sophomore. Julius' most notable games came in BIG EAST play at Villanova on Sept. 16 (two goals) and vs. Quinnipiac on Sept. 23 (two goals). She also tallied a goal at No. 1 UConn on Oct. 15 and dished out a career-high three assists against Georgetown on Oct. 8.

Julius was selected to the 2017 U.S. U-21 Women's National Team roster.
During her freshman campaign, Julius netted three goals, four assists and 10 points in 16 games.

The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team (USWNT) will hold two training camps in 2017. The first one will be from Feb. 11-15 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. At that camp, the team will practice as well as scrimmage against the U.S. Women's National Team. The team will also participate in a second training camp from March 17-19 at Duke.

In 2016, the U-21 USWNT hosted Great Britain's U-21 Team for a five-game test series, going 3-1-1 Team. After that, they played in the Junior Women's Pan American Championship in Trinidad & Tobago in March and finished with a silver medal, qualifying the team for the women's Hockey Junior World Cup. At the Hockey Junior World Cup in November in Santiago, Chile, the team finished the event in eighth place.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Liberty Lacrosse Blog Day 6

Day 6: Saturday, January 14, 2017

We woke up just before 5:30 a.m., packed our stuff up, and hit the road around 5:55 a.m. We drove for just over three to Rock Hill, S.C. and stopped at a Panera for breakfast that we preordered.

We are back on the road again, just south of Charlotte. The weather is definitely going to be cooler in Lynchburg.

I think back to Thursday night, walking back to our vans from downtown Charleston. I had a sudden surge of emotion come over me. It was hard to describe exactly why it happened, but it was just one of thankfulness. I am incredibly blessed to be in this situation and have this opportunity at Liberty that I do. A year ago today, I never would have envisioned that the Lord would have me at Liberty doing what I’m doing. I’m incredibly blessed by Him.

Liberty Lacrosse Blog, Day 5, Part 2

Day 5, Part 2: Friday, January 13, 2017

After I had lunch, I packed up a bag and biked over to the beach. The girls were about 20 minutes into their workout on the beach with Karyl when I got there. I set my stuff done and went for a 3.1 mile run around the neighborhood. The temperature was in the mid 70s, so it was a bit toasty. I got in two runs today, which was good.

As I made my way back to the beach, I could hear the girls from a quarter mile away. Once I got back, I saw that they were taking an “ice bath” in the 56-degree waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They began chanting “Bill, Bill, Bill”, encouraging me to go in the ocean. I had no issues with this, as this would definitely cool me down. Before hitting the water, I dropped my sunglasses, and take a dive into the water without barely feeling it.

The water was quite chilly, but it did feel good. After swimming around for a bit, I got out and went to grab a frisbee, the boogie board, and a football. Unfortunately, the tide was very low, which was not ideal for boogie boarding. The girls went looking for shells, and we happened to see dolphins traveling, jumping out of the water not far from the shore.

The rest of the time at the beach was spent laying out and reading the Bible. The coaches and staff all had a book or reading material in hand, making for a relaxing afternoon. A little after four, I biked back to the house, changed, and packed up more books to meet the girls up at the Starbucks in Freshfields Village.

When I got up there, I went into the sporting goods store. Some of the girls were in there, and Victoria (Tori) got good news that she passed her teaching exam. At the store, the girls tried to talk me into buying a lacrosse stick. I'm certainly going to need some lacrosse lessons this spring.

I got a coffee from Starbucks and some stuff from Harris Teeter and just hung out with the girls, as they snacked on chips and guacamole, sushi, and other lighter snacks. Dinner was set for 7 p.m., so Abby, Paige, and I began to ride back at about 6:25. It was a challenging ride, with very little light (phone lights). It was a fun trip home, as I became the third Britton for the night.

We stopped half way to the house to look at a perfectly clear, starry sky. It was the first time I had seen the stars that clear in a while. We dodged cars and eventually made it back to the house. Lindsey, Grace, and Sarah had quite the run-in on the way back, as a deer came out of the woods and jumped over Grace’s back bike tire.

When we got to the house, I played some doubles ping pong with Katherine, Nina, and Lexi. Lindsey, Michaela, and Kayla eventually came down to play before dinner was served.

The dinner consisted of pasta, meatballs, and salad, with chocolate chip cookies and ice cream for dessert. Following dinner, the coaches reviewed the week with the girls, and I stuck around to soak in some lacrosse knowledge. They also handed out schedules for the spring.

We heard roars coming from downstairs from the doubles ping pong battles between Joey and Karyl and Danny and Logan. Eventually, I got into the mix and played doubles matches with Logan against Danny and Karyl.

Currently, we are just sitting around and talking around the fire. I’ve packed most of my stuff, as we’ll be leaving around 6:30 a.m.

Overall, this has been such a great trip. Spending five days in houses with this team has been a blast. I’ve gotten to know the staff and girls and look forward to spending the spring with them.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Liberty Lacrosse Blog, Day 5, Part 1

Day 5: Friday, January 13, 2017

I got up around 6:50 a.m. and got ready to go for a run. Danny and Joey biked down to the beach to see the sunrise, and Kelly, Nina, and a few of the girls drove over. I ran the mile-and-a-half over to the beach and arrived about 10 minutes before sunrise. It was a sight to behold, as the waves crashed in and the sun appeared from the horizon. I didn’t even bring my phone to capture it because I just wanted to soak it in.

After hanging out for another 15 minutes, I finished up the remainder of my run and got ready for practice. Practice followed a similar structure, with a full field passing drill, positional skill-specific breakouts, and a scrimmage situation to end it. We had to pack up everything for good, being that it was our last day of practice at the school.

We all drove over to the Seabrook Island sign at the entrance of the town, and I was put in charge to take the team picture while the coaches filled up on gas and went to the grocery store. We took the team picture and then headed back to the houses for lunch.

The girls have a beach workout scheduled for 2 p.m. I’m going to bike over there in a bit, go for another run, and try out some boogie boarding.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Liberty Lacrosse Blog, Day 4, Part 2

Day 4, Part 2: Thursday, January 12, 2017

After everybody got ready, we made the trek to Charleston and arrived around 2:30. I didn’t realize just how hopping Charleston was. The downtown area featured a market, the College of Charleston, tons of restaurants and shops, huge houses, and tons of museums that looked like houses and had historical significance. Finally, the city is situated on the bay, which feeds right into the Atlantic Ocean.

We parked and walked to the Charleston City Market, which was established in the 1790s. There were numerous vendors across the four blocks. I ended up getting an Arnold Palmer that was made from freshly squeezed lemons. I don’t think I had ever seen lemons turned to lemonade and an ultimately an Arnold Palmer.

The girls wandered off in groups at the market and to various other stores in town to shop. I went with Kelly, Nina, and Karyl to the waterfront area. As we were approaching the bay, we saw a pod of dolphins traveling together and jumping out of the water as they went along from our left to right. When we got up there, they were off in the distance and kept moving along. Eventually, Joey, Danny, and Logan met up with us, and we ended up hanging out there for another 20-30 minutes. We did see some more dolphins, but they weren’t quite as cool as the first group we saw.

After that, we went to Rainbow Row, a series of colorful historic houses in downtown Charleston. It was cool to see and read about the history of the buildings dating back to the late 1700s.

We continued walking along the coast, eventually finding White Point Garden, which was a really cool park with humongous trees, green grass, and a pavilion. As we approached the park, we saw a guy proposing to his girlfriend and now fiancée. She said yes, and a short photographer guy took pictures of the whole event as we applauded in the distance. Just a normal Thursday.

We made our way back down Meeting Street, passing several more gigantic houses and museums that once were houses. Eventually, we walked into the College of Charleston basketball arena to use the bathroom. It was a smaller gym but still very nice.

We finally met up with the girls just before 5:30, and most if not all of them had successful shopping trip, as evidenced by the many bags they carried.

We crossed over the Ashley River and made our way to Swig & Swine, a BBQ joint in the area. As we pulled into the lot, our staff van belted out its best version of Edwin McCain’s song “I’ll Be”.

The aromas alone made me hungry. The brisket, pulled pork, mac & cheese, baked potato salad, and banana pudding all were incredible. I don’t think anybody walked away hungry or dissatisfied with the delicious southern BBQ.

On the ride back, we listened to some good tunes and had a good time. We are now at the house, about to watch This Is Us. Joey is satisfied that he’s getting to drink his chocolate milk for dessert. 

Liberty Lacrosse Blog, Day 4, Part 1

Day 4, Part 1: Thursday, January 12, 2017

It was another warm morning for practice. The girls did conditioning with Karyl first and then got into practice. I’m learning a good amount about the game just by listening or asking the girls questions. The girls worked on a full field passing drill and then split up by position to work on position-specific skills.

The defenders worked on ground balls, while the attackers worked on a new offensive scheme. After that, they came together and worked on some 2v2 situations. Practice wrapped up with full field work.

We got back to the house a little bit ago and had lunch. Everybody is getting ready to head to Charleston. We’ll spend the day there, exploring the stores and the area. We’ll all have dinner at a barbecue place later on. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Liberty Lacrosse Blog, Day 3, Part 2

Day 3, Part 2: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I went for a run around the island and happened to pass by Mel, Lindsey, Caroline, and Jenna as they were biking back from their lift. After getting back, I finished up some work for the tennis teams before heading over on a bike to watch the sunset with everyone.

When I got over there, the sun was about 20 minutes from setting. Some of the girls thought it’d be a great idea to go in the water. The water is 56 degrees, and I only went in with my feet. It was quite cold to say the least.

The sunset was stunning, as the waves crashed into the shore. The girls took several pictures and a big group photo right before the sun went down.

I went over to the one house but didn’t have my hotspot handy for The Bachelor. It would have to wait until after dinner. We went next door for dinner at 6:40, and the girls in the house were finishing up preparing tacos.

After praying, we had a delicious meal. Following that, we went back to the other house to finish up The Bachelor. Following the episode, I just hung out with the girls and got to know them better.

Four of us rode bikes back to the house, where we watched part of an episode of Shark Tank and a full episode of This Is Us.

I’m pretty wiped out from all the sunburn and activities today. Tomorrow should be another fun day. After conditioning and practice, we will have lunch and then head to Charleston for the rest of the day. 

Liberty Lacrosse Blog, Day 3, Part 1

Day 3, Part 1: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It was a beautiful morning in Seabrook Island as we headed to practice. When we got there, it was already pleasant out. Within the first 10 minutes, I removed my jacket because it was plenty warm. The girls had a tough morning of conditioning, with numerous sprints orchestrated by Karyl.

During practice, some of the high school girls from the school came up to us asking if they could film practice because they were doing a project on women’s leadership. I set up an interview with them and Faith, and they asked her some questions. I spent practice watching different elements of lacrosse. I spent some time watching defending, passing, and goalkeeping. For the final part of practice, the team worked on full field stuff.

After practice, we came back to the house for lunch, and I worked on stories for men’s and women’s tennis while the girls went to rehab and lift. I’m about to go for a run now, and then we are all meeting at the beach at 5 p.m. for the sunset.

After that, I’m bringing over my hotspot to the one house so we can watch the end of The Bachelor. We’ll have dinner at the house next door at 7 p.m.

Liberty Lacrosse Blog Day 2

Day 2: Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I woke up to Joey Lyons telling the girls a story of me yelling in my sleep last night. I obviously had no recollection of it nor do I remember having any nightmares. When I was in Arizona in college for a spring break baseball trip, I was told by my friends one morning that I was talking in my sleep. My one friend said I sounded like Donnie Thornberry from The Wild Thornberrys.

We left for practice at around 8:30 and got to Charleston Collegiate High School, a private school, for practice. Danny and I worked on setting up shot clocks and goals (which we barely had a clue how to do) while the girls stretched and began conditioning with Karyl (strength and conditioning coach).

I spent most of the practice watching the attackers and working on learning everybody’s name and number. Towards the end of practice, I think I had them all down. I also asked Faith (one of the team captains) some questions about the game, as I am a novice to the sport.

Post-practice prayer
After practice, we went back to the houses for lunch. Most of the girls left after lunch to head over the fitness center in the area to rehab and/or lift.

I took a short nap and then went on a run through the neighborhood. I mostly went down Seabrook Island Drive and then ducked over to the beach to check out the view of the ocean. The waves were lightly rolling in, crashing into the shore. I also got to see the clubhouse and practice area for one of the golf courses in the area. After the run, I hopped on a bike and went to town to get coffee at Java Java. However, it was closed when I got there, so I had to go to the Starbucks at Harris Teeter.

The ride back was quite adventurous, as I could not get my bike seat to cooperate. I spent about five miles trying not to spill my coffee on a bike with an extremely low seat (quad burner). Before I got to the house where we would have dinner, I hung out by the beach as the waves crashed in further than they had just a few hours prior. I missed the sunset, but there was still a glimmer of light coming from the horizon. The sound of the ocean waves is such a peaceful sound.

Once I got over to the house where dinner would be served, several of the girls were busy making chicken teriyaki, rice, and broccoli. At the same time, the rest of the girls were watching this week’s episode of The Bachelor. A week ago, I got roped into the craze known as The Bachelor, and let’s just say I wanted to watch it with them. We only watched part of the episode before pausing it for dinner.

It was a delicious dinner. After dinner, the team activity for the night was “Body-Body”. The game itself is very similar to Mafia. In this particular game, we drew cards, with one person drawing the King (the killer). We turned off all the lights, and the killer would “kill” at least one person until someone found the “dead” person and yelled “Body-Body”. The goal of the game was to determine who was the killer. We played three rounds of the game. In the first two rounds, we figured out the killer pretty quickly.

However, in the third round, Melanie set it up so there would be two killers, and I was one of them. Eden turned out to be the one killer, and then Melanie and others seemed to plan it and accuse others besides me, even though I ended up “killing” multiple people. My reign finally came to an end after several rounds.

I biked back to our house with some of the girls. We didn’t know until tonight that there was a ping pong table in the basement. Joey and Danny played a few games, and Carly played against Danny. She is a pretty good player and had some battles with Danny.  The rest of the night, we ate ice cream and watched the show This Is Us.

Everyone has gone to bed, and I’m just about ready to go to bed. Tomorrow will be a day with even warmer temperatures, more conditioning and practice, and more fun. I’m having fun getting to know this team and learning the game of lacrosse.

Liberty Lacrosse Blog Day 1

Day 1: Monday, January 9, 2017

The journey with the Liberty lacrosse team has begun. After a 12 plus hour drive back from Chicago to Lynchburg, I packed up on Sunday night to get ready for the lacrosse preseason trip to Seabrook Island, S.C. The crazy thing is that Lynchburg has more snow than Chicago right now. My apartment complex was poorly plowed and an ice rink.

I met the lacrosse team in the fall through some practices but didn’t have a ton of interaction. I got over to the East Campus Field House around 8:10 a.m. The crazy thing is that Lynchburg has more snow than Chicago right now. They certainly don’t know how to handle the snow the way the northerners do. There was a delay with one of the vans, so we didn’t take off until sometime around 9:45 a.m. I rode with Joey and Logan, the athletic trainers. We made the 415 mile trek down to Seabrook Island, stopping once at Subway for lunch.

While it has been cold down here today, starting tomorrow it’s supposed to warm up into the 60s and eventually the 70s as the week goes on. Once we got here, we realized the house did not have any heat downstairs. The upstairs was fine, but downstairs was freezing cold. After unpacking, Joey, Danny (the team manager), and I went to pick up pizzas to bring over to one of the other houses.
We got 15 pizzas and 10 salads and brought them over to another house the girls are staying at on the island. We feasted on pizza and watched the first quarter-and-a-half of the national championship game between Clemson and Alabama before heading back to our house.

The rest of the night was spent bundling up under many blankets and watching the title game. Everybody had their own blanket or shared with someone sitting next to them. In the end, my Clemson Tigers pulled out a thrilling 35-31 victory over Alabama to win the title. Just as I ran two sprints down the hallway in a hotel in Philadelphia after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, I ran two sprints down the street after the victory.

Only coach Kelly slept downstairs, as everyone else elected to sleep in the significantly warmer upstairs. Tomorrow will bring the first day of conditioning, practice, and lifting down here.