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#7 Seed Liberty Falls to #2 Seed Davidson in Big South Quarterfinals
Liberty pulled within two with 10:31 left, but No. 2 seed Davidson used a 6-0 run to close the game and earn an 18-10 victory over the No. 7 seed Lady Flames in the quarterfinals of the Big South Lacrosse Championship on Wednesday evening at Richardson Stadium. Liberty junior Sam Struss scored five times in the contest, setting a new program single-season record with 41 goals.
Liberty concludes its season with a 2-16 record, while Davidson improves to 11-6. The Wildcats advance to the semifinal round on Friday, where they will face No. 3 seed Longwood at High Point.
After a scoreless stretch of over six minutes, Davidson notched the first goal of the contest at the 23:42 mark. The Wildcats followed with another tally at 22:38 to take a 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Flames cut the home team's lead in half, at 2-1, on a goal by Struss 1:48 later. The team's leading scorer fired the ball into the top of the cage off of a Kallie Britton assist.
The Wildcats pushed their advantage to three with two more goals, including Emma Sissman's second tally of the contest with just under 13 minutes remaining in the half.
Britton delivered Liberty's second goal of the game, pulling the Lady Flames back within two, at 4-2, with 9:39 showing on the first-half game clock. The sophomore sped past the Davidson defense and whipped a shot in between the pipes for her 17th marker of the season.
Davidson ended the half on a four-goal run to take an 8-2 lead into the intermission. Erin Doherty and Emily Rademacher had two goals each for Davidson during the scoring spurt.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Wildcats extended their advantage to 9-2 with 7:01 elapsed in the final period.
Liberty's offense struck for three straight goals over a stretch of 2:06 to trim the deficit to four with 20:30 remaining in the contest. Morgan Becker sandwiched a pair of goals around a free-position tally by Struss, making the score 9-5 in favor of Davidson.
The Wildcats cooled off the Lady Flames' attack with a pair of markers, pushing their lead back to 11-5 with 18:20 remaining.
Trailing by six, Liberty turned to Struss to get the Lady Flames back into the contest. The junior notched a free-position goal, before scoring on a pair of acrobatic shots to tie and push her ahead of former Lady Flames Kristen Crowley and Karis Walborn for most goals in a season. Liberty wasn't done as Courtney Brown whipped home a score off of a Britton assist, pulling within two, at 11-9, with 13:16 left in regulation.
After a Davidson goal by Sissman, Becker scored her third tally of the match on a free-position attempt at 10:30. The redshirt junior's 32nd goal of the season made the score 12-10 Davidson.
The Wildcats notched the final six goals of the game to earn the 18-10 win.
For the contest, Liberty scooped up 20 ground balls to Davidson's 18. The Wildcats held the edge in shots, 33-22, draw controls, 20-9, and caused turnovers, 5-4.
Struss, Sissman and Doherty each had a game-high five goals, while Davidson's Ann Fucigna led both teams with four assists. Sissman had a contest-best 11 draw controls, while the Lady Flames' Nina Dunay led both squads in ground balls with six.
In her final game in goal for Liberty, Kristen Masullo tallied 10 saves. Davidson goalkeeper Katy Boyle snagged seven saves en route to the victory.