Paige Britton scored a career-best six goals in the winning effort, while Kayla Foster (4 g, 3 a, 7 pts), Grace Fletcher (3 g, 1 a, 4 pts) and Brianna McCaffrey (3 g, 1 a, 4 pts) each scored three or more goals.
Britton's six markers tied for the second-most in a game in program history. The Liberty redshirt sophomore entered the game with six goals all season and doubled her season total with Wednesday's six-goal effort.
|Britton scored a career-high and game-high six goals on Wednesday at Longwood.|
"The whole team knew this game was a key game. We played well all over the field. It was everything – goalies, defense, middies, attack and the sidelines' encouragement," Britton said. "Coach (Kelly Nangle) reminded us of our motto ‘Tough, Together, Today, Everyday' and what it meant. All I know is, as long as the team is playing for the glory of God, we are on the right track."
The Liberty defense was stout in victory. The Lady Flames did not surrender a Longwood goal until 12:40 into the contest. In the second half, the unit was even more impressive, going 23:45 before allowing a Lancers goal.
With the win, Liberty improves to 3-9 overall and 2-0 in Big South competition, while Longwood falls to 5-7 overall and 1-1 in the Big South.
Both teams were held off the scoreboard for the first five-plus minutes of the contest before Courtney Brown sprung a fastbreak opportunity for Carly White, who buried a shot to give the Lady Flames their first lead, 1-0, with 24:04 left in the opening half. At the 18:56 mark, Foster scored on a free-position attempt, pushing the Liberty lead to 2-0.
Longwood's Kaitlin Luccarelli scored back-to-back goals for the hosts to even the score at 2-2, before Liberty responded with a pair of markers (Foster, Fletcher) to take a 4-2 lead with 10:59 left. Foster's goal was a wraparound goal, as she found the left side of the goal. Fletcher corralled a Lindsey McNamara bouncing pass before firing it into the net.
The Lancers answered with a 3-0 run of their own, with a goal from Luccarelli and back-to-back tallies from Dana Joss. The three-goal burst put Longwood up, 5-4, with 4:56 left on the first half clock.
But Liberty responded with a five-goal barrage to close the half. The game-tying goal came following a foul on White. From a free-position spot, White found Foster on the restart, who scored her third of the day with 4:11 remaining in the half. Fletcher put a shot in the right corner of the net with 3:08 on the clock, giving Liberty a 6-5 edge.
Foster found Britton for back-to-back goals in a 32-second span, putting the Lady Flames on top, 8-5, at the 1:32 mark. With 24.3 seconds left in the half, McCaffrey notched her first of the day, sending Liberty into halftime with a 9-5 lead.
The Lady Flames carried over the momentum into the second half, scoring the half's first eight goals to build a 17-5 lead. Foster's fourth of the day, and 17th of 2017, provided Liberty a 10-5 advantage with 27:23 left on the clock. The visiting Lady Flames then grew the lead to 13-5 with a three-goal spurt in 25 seconds, including goals from Britton, McCaffrey and Fletcher. McCaffrey's goal featured the Liberty sophomore winning the draw control, racing down the field, switching to her left hand and firing a strike through Longwood goalkeeper Imani West's legs.
Britton then scored her fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the day, in succession, to stake Liberty to a 16-5 lead with 12:10 remaining. McCaffrey's third goal of the afternoon and 23rd of the year closed out a 13-0 Lady Flames run.
Kaitlyn Cassidy-Fischetti netted Liberty's final goal of the day with 4:22 left, while Molly Barkman scored twice and Lexi Davis scored for Longwood in the closing minutes.
West was credited with the loss for the Lancers, as she yielded 16 goals and made nine saves in 48:18 in goal.
The Lady Flames held distinct advantages over Longwood in shots (37-21) and ground balls (29-20). Widrick and Fletcher each scooped up a team-best four ground balls for Liberty, while Brown led the squad with three caused turnovers.
The 18-8 victory marked the second straight game Liberty has won by the score of 18-8. The Lady Flames defeated Presbyterian, last Saturday, in their Big South opener by the same score.
"This was a big win for us. Every conference game is important, but to be able to get our first two wins on the road to open conference play gives us a lot of momentum," said Liberty Head Lacrosse Coach Kelly Nangle. "I love how we played today, as a team, doing the little things well. The little things added up to the big things, with everyone involved. We're growing together every time we step out on the field, and that's a great place to be. We're excited and ready to get back to work this week to prepare for a good Campbell team on Saturday."
Liberty will return to action on Saturday against Campbell (5-6, 2-0 Big South). The contest is set for a noon start in what will be the Lady Flames' first home match since March 4 against Old Dominion.