Flames Roll Over Knights
April 1, 2012 | Lynchburg, VA
The Liberty Flames took the field against the Knights of Southern Virginia on Friday night in their first match since a 9-6 loss to Savannah College of Art and Design on March 18. With sophomores Kurt Tobias and Andrew Walters leading the way, Liberty scored the first five goals of the game and never trailed on the way to a 21-6 rout at the Liberty University Lacrosse field.
The Flames set the tone early as Tobias beat Knights goalie Scott Trammell with a high rocket 90 seconds into the first quarter off an assist from Walters. Minutes later, he returned the favor, hitting a cutting Walters for the second goal. After scoring on an assist from James Spearman, Walters and Tobias connected again, with Walters getting the assist to make the score 3-0. Walters scored again late in the period on an assist from defenseman Nathan Lowmaster, who got in on the action himself on a lone man rush to make it 6-1 at the end of the first period.
Tobias kept his hot streak going into the second quarter, adding another goal to make it 7-1. The Knights got a pair of goals from Joshua Nielson, to cut the deficit to 7-3 before head coach Kyle McQuillan called a timeout and looked to refocus his squad.
The Flames responded with a vengeance, getting goals from Daniel Forbes and Derek Haywood to make the score 9-3 going into halftime, then Liberty opened the floodgates, outscoring SVU 7-1 in the third period to put the game well out of reach. Tobias scored three of the goals in that spurt as well as an assist.
Liberty added five more goals in the final period, including two from Tobias, and SVU's Ben Tillotson and Wade Kirwan scored to set the final margin.
The win was Liberty's seventh in eight games and third-straight conference victory, putting them a half game up on Davidson for first place in the Southeastern Lacrosse Conference's Northwest Division, with the Wildcats off until next Wednesday when they host Wofford in their season finale.
Tillotson led the way for SVU with three goals and Garrett Maw had a goal, an assist and four ground balls while Scott Trammel stopped 24 shots despite constant Liberty pressure for the Knights, who fall to 2-5 on the year and 0-2 in the SELC. Daniel Forbes added four goals of his own and Asa Keimig stopped 10 shots for the Flames to pick up the win.
Liberty has nearly doubled the total number of victories from last year, and can clinch a share of the division title and no worse than a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament with a win over Elon in a couple weeks.
Coach McQuillan had high expectations for his team early in the game.
"We're trying to take this program to the next level, and if we want to be taken seriously on the national stage, we need to dominate teams like this (Southern Virginia)," he said.
He said Tobias and Walters are "really talented lacrosse players" who both have "great footwork and great stickwork," McQuillan described their ability to naturally find each other and feed off each other's energy and success on the field, which sometimes leads to a little extra competition between them (think Legolas and Gimli from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy).
Coach McQuillan said the Flames will "need to be more disciplined running their offense and their defense" and stick to "playing LU lacrosse" if they want to make a splash here at the end of the season.
Liberty next takes the field April 10, in their final home match against the Richmond Spiders. First draw is set for 7 p.m..
B.J. Williams, Staff Writer