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Top 2 Teams in Big South Clash, Wednesday

October 7, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Two teams vying for first place in the Big South standings collide at Osborne Stadium, Wednesday, when the Liberty women's soccer team hosts the Radford Highlanders at 3 p.m.

In a rematch of the 2013 Big South Championship final, the contest pits the conference's top scoring team (Radford, 24 goals) against a Liberty squad that leads the league in fewest goals allowed (7) and shutouts (7).

The Highlanders and the Lady Flames come into the contest currently tied for first in the Big South at 3-0-1 and are each unbeaten in their previous six games. Wednesday's contest will mark the 29th installment in the all-time series.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
A free live video stream courtesy of the Liberty Flames Sports Network and the Big South Network will be available on the women's soccer schedule/results panel. Live stats powered by StatBroadcast will also be available.

Last Time Out for Liberty
The Liberty women's soccer team extended its unbeaten streak to six games, Saturday afternoon at Osborne Stadium, defeating Presbyterian, 2-0.

Midfielders Rebeccah Smith and Madison Kauzlarich each posted goals for the Lady Flames, while forward Jaime Bouffard and Baylee Gillmore chipped in assists.

Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord made three saves en route to her 20th career shutout. The netminder has now tied her former teammate Karen Blocker (2008-2012) for the program record.

With the win, Liberty moves to 7-3-1 on the year and 3-0-1 in the Big South. The Lady Flames remain unbeaten in the all-time series against the Blue Hose with an 8-0-1 record.

A Look at the Lady Flames
Brittany Aanderud leads Liberty in points (10) on two goals and six assists. The junior's assist total is also tied for first in the Big South Conference. Senior forward Alanna Dunkle paces the Lady Flames offense with four goals, while four Lady Flames have three – Jennifer Knoebel, Crystal Elmers, Rebeccah Smith and Madison Kauzlarich. Jaime Bouffard has two goals on the year and is also tied for second in the conference with four assists.

Junior defender Alex Mack has been named the Big South Defensive Player of the Week for her pair of performances against UNC Asheville and Presbyterian.

The weekly honor is the first of Mack's collegiate career and the program's fourth this season. Liberty has now earned weekly conference honors three straight weeks. Aanderud garnered Attacking Player of the Week accolades on Sept. 29, while Knoebel received the same award the week prior. Mack's teammate on the back line, Maddie Boone, was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 25.

Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord leads the league in shutouts with six (34th nationally). She is also first in the Big South in save percentage (.860) and goals-against average (0.64).

As a team, Liberty is 15th in the country in assists (26), 15th in save percentage (.873), 17th in shutout percentage (.636) and 23rd in goals-against average (0.61), while leading the Big South in all four categories. Liberty is also second in the conference with 22 goals.

Head coach Jessica Hain is in 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.

Liberty was 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 were the preseason favorite for the first time since 2010 and sixth time overall.

Radford at a Glance
Radford enters Wednesday's contest with a 6-4-2 record and a 3-0-1 mark in conference play. Like Liberty, the Highlanders are unbeaten in their last six contests, coming off a 5-1 win versus Longwood on Saturday.
The Highlanders' Kara Wade is tied for second in the conference in goals with seven and is third in total points with 16. Jordan Lundin is tied with Liberty's Brittany Aanderud for first in the Big South with six assists. Goalkeeper Katie McCormick is second in the league in save percentage (.800) and fourth in goals-against average (1.33).

As a team, the Highlanders are tied with Winthrop for first in the Big South with 24 goals. Radford is also second in assists, trailing Liberty with 22 helpers.

Series Information
Radford leads the all-time series against the Lady Flames with a 16-8-4 mark. Radford bested Liberty during the 2013 regular season at Patrick D. Cupp Stadium, 3-0. The Lady Flames avenged the loss in the 2013 Big South Championship final with a 5-0 shutout victory, setting a tournament record for the most goals in a finals match.

Looking Ahead
Liberty hits the road on Saturday, squaring off against High Point. Match time is scheduled for 1 p.m.