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Flames club team starts season 12-1, averaging 16 goals per game in DII play
The Liberty University men’s lacrosse team bounced back from a 13-10 loss against the Richmond Spiders and defeated University of North Carolina Charlotte 49ers, 25-1. More than nine people scored goals for the Flames, with Kurt Tobias scoring six of the 25 in his second game of the year.
Freshman Ryan Miller and sophomore Chris Armstrong also led the Liberty offense with assists and goals that contributed to their highest-scoring game of the season.
“It was a good game before a really important upcoming game,” Head Coach Kyle McQuillan said. “It was a good confidence booster heading into the game this Friday against the (2012) SELC Division Champions Elon University.”
Goalie sophomore Ethan Kamholtz had 11 saves and only allowed one goal. For the season, he leads the Division II with 193 saves and is fifth in save percentage.
“(Kamholtz) made a huge impact the season,” junior Skylar Sipe said. “He helps controls the defense, and he has become the leader of the entire defense.”
The 49ers had little room to breathe throughout the course of the game. Tobias started Liberty’s goal streak, and the Flames defense overturned into counter attacks that furthered their lead.
The 49ers scored a single goal in the game, making it 15-1 in the early minutes of the third period, but the Liberty offense replied with another 10 goals.
With his four-goal performance, Miller leads Division II with 52 this season. He is also third in assists, tallying 30.
“Everyone was ready for the game after the loss,” Sipe said. “We were ready to make sure it doesn’t happen again. No one likes the taste of losing.”
Bench production also played a role in the blowout. Sipe contributed with one goal and two assists.
“This is a really important win for the team,” Sipe said. “This was a confidence game for us, especially with Elon up next on the schedule.”
With their victory Sunday afternoon, Liberty now has a 3-0 record within the South Eastern Lacrosse Conference
Division II, with an overall record of 12-1. After a successful season, including an 11-game winning streak, McQuillan believes that his team is ready for a new challenge.
“We’ve had an awesome year,” McQuillan said. “We’ve had one loss this season, and that loss came from a team that is a division higher than us. Games like today kind of prove that we’ve outgrown our division and that we need to be voted in on Division I, and we have every expectation that it will happen next season.”
The lacrosse team now prepares to compete against Elon for a chance to gain the pole position in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Division II Southeastern Lacrosse Conference. The Phoenix head into the match against Liberty with a record of 3-0 in the conference and an overall record of 9-1.
In the past four times Elon and Liberty have met, the Pheonix were triumphant in all, but McQuillan is confident in his team’s ability this season.
“This has been by far the most successful program and team we’ve had at the university,” McQuillan said. “We’re really excited to move forward into playoffs and nationals, and hopefully we’ll be able to bring a couple championship titles back.”
The Flames will conclude their season hosting Elon on senior night April 12, at 7 p.m.