After finishing the 2012 season — only the second year of the program — with a 16-6 record, the Lady Flames (1-0) field hockey team downed the St. Joseph’s Hawks
Sophomore forward Natalie Barr scored a goal and assisted on two others, while sophomore defender Hannah Jones added two goals of her own — one of which came on a penalty stroke.
Sophomore forward Ashlee Krulock netted the Lady Flames other score.
“It was nice to actually score and get my name in there, because last year I had two goals all season,” Jones said. “So it was good to start it off well.”
Flames redshirt senior goalkeeper Ann Jefferis starred in goal after sitting the 2012 season out to focus on her nursing studies, according to Head Coach Jodi Mitchell. She won the starting job from Mallory Cuccio, who went 10-2 in the second half of the season last year. Jefferis had four saves on the afternoon and was only seriously tested a couple of times.
The outcome was never in doubt after the Lady Flames (1-0) notched the first goal of the contest on a penalty stroke from Jones 10:14 into the first half. Krulock then gave the Lady Flames, a 2-0 edge with 6:20 left in the half, rocketing one past Hawks keeper Rachel Barnett a crossing pass
The second half began with St. Joseph’s (0-1) controlling possession for a few minutes, but from then on it was all Lady Flames, who fired nine shots on goal in the half. Barr, who led the team in goals and assists in 2012, tallied her first goal of the year on a pass from fellow co-captain Helen Doolittle to give the Lady Flames a 3-0 lead. Despite a valiant effort from the Lady Hawks’ Barnett, she couldn’t hold off a barrage of Lady Flames shots, eventually letting in a fourth goal — a Jones deflection off a shot from Barr.
“It’s just great having that feeling of scoring it on your home turf, and it’s just great coming off on a win — and a convincing win — in our first home game,” Barr said. “And we’re just really hoping to move on and upwards and (having) this just be the start of our season, and that we continue to keep scoring goals and keep having shutouts.”
With their victory against the Hawks, Liberty won its first season opener in the teams history
“To come out on top (against St. Joseph’s) really does give us confidence going into our trip out West,” Murphy said. “And those are two teams that we’ve never played before, so it’ll be a test.”
Two of last season’s top three leading scorers, Sarah Gipe and Abbey Basom, sat out against St. Joseph’s with injuries. According to Murphy, sophomore Abbey Basom is expected to be back in the lineup next week, while sophomore Sarah Gipe is out indefinitely.
The Lady Flames will make the journey out West next week to take on UC Davis and California Sept. 6 and 8. Their next home game will be a Sept. 27 date with St. Louis.