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Lady Flames Set for Matchup with UNCG, Tuesday
The Liberty women's soccer team looks to start the season 2-0, Tuesday, when it steps onto the Osborne Stadium pitch for the first the time, this season. Standing in the way of the Lady Flames are the UNCG Spartans, who will try to halt a 0-2 skid. Liberty hopes to make it two in a row against the Spartans, after defeating the Southern Conference foe, last year. Game time is slated for 6 p.m.
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Elmers' Goal Puts Liberty over ODU
Liberty began the 2014 campaign on a positive note, Friday night, defeating Old Dominion at the ODU Soccer Complex, 1-0.
Junior forward Crystal Elmers netted the game-winning goal midway through the second period, courtesy of assists by junior forward Jaime Bouffard and junior midfielder Brittany Aanderud. Aanderud, who posted a school record 10 assists in 2013, picked up where she left off last season with her 16th career helper.
Redshirt sophomore Holly Van Noord, who also set a program and conference record last year with 14 shutouts, recorded a clean sheet to boost her career total to 15. She is now tied with Natalie Mayer for second on Liberty's career saves list. Van Noord finished Friday night's contest with two saves.
Boone Named Defensive Player of the Week
Maddie Boone has been named the Big South Defensive Player of the Week for games played Aug. 18-24. The announcement was made by the conference earlier this afternoon.
Boone was instrumental in Liberty's 1-0 shutout victory over Old Dominion, as she and the Lady Flames defense allowed just two shots on goal during the contest. Liberty held ODU to a total of 10 shots on the night. The Lady Flames have now won the past three meetings against the Lady Monarchs.
The honor is Boone's first Big South Defensive Player of the Week nod this season and the first for Liberty in 2014. The Nicholasville, Ky., native previously received the weekly accolade during the 2013 season, as she was named defensive player of the week on Oct. 21 for her performances against VMI and Gardner-Webb.
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 16 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.
Spartans at a Glance
UNCG enters the contest with a 0-2 record, dropping contests to Charlotte (1-0) on Friday and Georgia (3-0) this past Sunday. The Spartans are coached by Michael Coll, who is in his first season with the program.
UNCG holds a 5-1 lead over Liberty in the all-time series, but the Lady Flames won the most recent meeting, earning a 1-0 victory off an Alanna Dunkle goal in Greensboro, N.C., last season. Brittany Aanderud was credited with the assist, helping give the Lady Flames their best six-game start in program history at 5-1.