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Women's Soccer Opens Season at ODU, Friday
The Liberty women's soccer team looks to begin its quest for another championship season, when the Lady Flames open the 2014 season at Old Dominion, Friday. The defending Big South champions will look to make it three straight wins against the Lady Monarchs after picking up a 2-0 win at Osborne Stadium, last season. Game time at the ODU Soccer Complex is slated for 7 p.m.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
A live video stream via Monarch Media will be available on LibertyFlames.com, by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results panel. Live stats for Friday's game will be provided by the ODU media relations office.
A Look at the Lady Flames
Liberty has been unanimously voted the preseason favorite in the Big South Conference women's soccer preseason poll by the league's head coaches. The Lady Flames collected all 11 first-place votes and 121 total points, and are the preseason favorite for the first time since 2010 and sixth time overall.
Along with the top spot, Liberty redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Holly Van Noord was voted Preseason Big South Defensive Player of the Year.
Liberty returns eight of its 11 starters from the 2013 campaign, including Big South Tournament MVP Brittany Aanderud. Liberty's co-leading scorer and assist leader last season, Aanderud looks to climb the Liberty record books. She currently sits at third on the program's all-time assist listing with 15 helpers.
Head coach Jessica Hain enters her sixth season with the program. Hain is coming off the most memorable season of her coaching tenure at Liberty, guiding the program to its fourth Big South Championship and first since 2005.
During her second year at Liberty in 2009, Hain and the Lady Flames experienced the biggest single-season turnaround in program history, capturing the Big South regular-season title and closing out the year with a 9-7-3 record (6-1-2 BSC). As a result of her team's performance during the regular season, Hain earned Big South Coach of the Year Honors.
2013 Notes and Highlights
Liberty ended its season with a 16-6-1 mark, setting a new single-season program record for most wins. Defensively, the Lady Flames' program-best 14 shutouts tied a Big South team record, while also finishing No. 14 in the nation for shutout percentage. Prior to facing the North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament, Liberty captured the Big South Championship on Nov. 10, defeating Radford, 5-0. The Lady Flames also finished No. 16 in the nation in save percentage and 28th nationally for goals against average. Overall, the program received its highest final RPI (68).
After breaking the Liberty single-season shutout record on Oct. 16, goalkeeper Holly Van Noord concluded the season with a school and conference-best 14 clean sheets. A second team Big South All-Conference honoree, National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Region third team selection and Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) All-State Rookie of the Year, Van Noord also led the conference in goals-against average (0.718) and save percentage (.850). The netminder concluded the year 23rd in the country in save percentage and 31st in goals-against average.
Midfielder Brittany Aanderud also cemented her name in the program record books, in 2013, closing the year with a single-season school record 10 assists. The sophomore ended 2013 at No. 3 all-time in program history with 15 helpers. Aanderud also garnered first team Big South All-Conference, NSCAA All-Region second team honors and first team VaSID all-state honors, last season.
Senior defender Casey Norris' collegiate career came to an end after playing in a program-record 84 contests, surpassing the previous record holder, Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Nancy Davis (1998-2001, 78 contests) last season. Norris concluded her senior season as a first team Big South All-Conference, Big South All-Tournament team and VaSID second team selection. The Pittsboro, N.C., native now serves as a volunteer assistant coach on head coach Jessica Hain's staff.
Last Time Out vs. Old Dominion
Liberty picked up a 2-0 win in its 2013 home opener versus Old Dominion (Aug. 30). The victory marked the Lady Flames' first win of the season and the second straight over the Lady Monarchs. The shutout win was also the first of goalkeeper Holly Van Noord's career.
With the series beginning in 2005, ODU holds a 5-2 advantage over the Lady Flames all-time. The Lady Monarchs won five straight against Liberty, before, Hain's squad has won the last two meetings.
Liberty picked up its first-ever win over Old Dominion on Sept. 2, 2012. Lauren Stell connected on a penalty kick in the 59th minute, allowing Liberty to leave the ODU Soccer Complex with a 1-0 victory. The Lady Flames followed up last season with a 2-0 win at Osborne Stadium.