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Liberty Athletics Title IX 40th Anniversary Celebration - Field Hockey
In conjunction with the Big South's year-long initiative, LibertyFlames.com will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX through a series of stories and videos which spotlight each of Liberty's women's athletics teams, one per month throughout the 2012-13 academic year. This month, the spotlight will be on the field hockey team.
The addition of field hockey, Liberty's newest women's athletics program, and the hiring of Jodi Murphy as the sport's inaugural head coach was announced by Director of Athletics Jeff Barber on Nov. 18, 2010. Murphy immediately began to prepare for competition beginning in the fall of 2011 and announced her first class of seven signees on April 18, 2011.
The Lady Flames played their first-ever contest on Sept. 3 at home against Radford. Helen Doolittle and goalkeeper Ann Jefferis each quickly inked their names in Liberty's record book, as Doolittle scored the program's first goal and Jefferis made 13 saves. The Lady Flames notched their first victory against Marywood on Sept. 10, 2011.
The Lady Flames finished their inaugural campaign with six victories. Doolittle and Jefferis then earned the program's first-ever postseason recognition, taking second team VaSID All-State and second team NFHCA All-South honors, respectively.
After bringing in a class of 13 freshmen, Murphy and the Lady Flames completed the 2012 regular season with a 14-5 record, highlighted by wins over Villanova, La Salle, Longwood and Davidson twice. Competing in its first season in the NorPac Conference, Liberty captured the East Division regular season title, finishing with a 7-1 mark in conference play.
Several Lady Flames brought home post-season hardware. Natalie Barr was named the NorPac East Offensive Player of the Year and was also tabbed to the all-conference squad as well as the NFHCA All-South Region second team. Sarah Gipe was awarded the NorPac's Maria Whitehead Rookie of the Year. Abbey Basom garnered a spot on the all-conference squad and Doolittle earned a spot on the NorPac All-Academic Team. Murphy was named the NorPac Co-Coach of the Year with Stanford's Tara Danielson.
Liberty entered the NorPac Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the East. In the first round, the Lady Flames downed Pacific 2-1 in overtime, before defeating Davidson 3-1 in the semifinals to become only the second team ever from the East Division to make it to the title game. Liberty faced nationally-ranked Stanford in the title match and dropped a hard-fought contest, 3-0.
Total Number of Participants: 31
Title IX 40th Anniversary Top Field Hockey Moments
Nov. 18, 2010 – Liberty Hires Jodi Murphy as the First Coach in Program History
Liberty tabbed former Richmond assistant coach, Jodi Murphy, as the program's inaugural head coach. Murphy spent three seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, concluding her tenure by helping Richmond to the 2009 Atlantic 10 regular-season title, Atlantic 10 Conference title, a berth in the NCAA Tournament and a No. 19 final season ranking.
Sept. 3, 2011 – Liberty Plays its First-Ever Field Hockey Game
Liberty hosted Commonwealth opponent Radford for its first field hockey game in program history, welcoming the Highlanders to its newly completed, state-of-the-art turf field located on Liberty's Campus East. Radford came away victorious, 4-1, with Helen Doolittle providing the Lady Flames' first goal in program history. Liberty's first victory would come just one week later, as it defeated Marywood, 3-0.
July 1, 2012 – Liberty Field Hockey Joins NorPac Field Hockey Conference
After announcing the planned membership on Oct. 12, 2011, Liberty officially joined the NorPac Field Hockey Conference as it entered its second season. Liberty joined the East Division of the conference, along with Appalachian State, Davidson, Longwood and Radford. The West Division of the Conference is composed of Cal, Pacific, Stanford and UC-Davis.
Oct. 28, 2012 – Liberty Defeats Davidson, 3-2, to Claim the NorPac East Regular-Season Title
The Lady Flames erased a 2-1 second-half deficit against the Wildcats and won the contest 3-2 to earn the NorPac East Division regular-season title. Natalie Barr scored her second goal of the game with just over a minute left in regulation to give Liberty the lead and the win. It marked the first division title in just the first season of competition in the conference for the Lady Flames.
Previous Liberty Athletics Title IX Features
September - Volleyball
October - Women's Soccer