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Liberty Squares Off with Gardner-Webb, Saturday
After a week-long break from game action, the Liberty women's soccer team returns to the pitch, Saturday, at Gardner-Webb. Match time is slated for 4 p.m.
The Lady Flames (9-3-1, 5-0-1) look to remain atop the Big South standings, with hopes of extending their current unbeaten streak to a program-best nine games. Standing in their way is a Gardner-Webb team (5-7-2, 2-2-2 Big South) that is coming off a momentum-building 2-0 win against Radford.
In an all-time series that includes a quartet of ties, Liberty leads Gardner-Webb head-to-head, 4-1-4. Head coach Jessica Hain's squad most recently defeated the Runnin' Bulldogs at Greene-Harbison Stadium, 3-1, last season (Oct. 19, 2013).
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats for Saturday's game will be provided by the Gardner-Webb media relations office and can be found on the schedule results/panel on LibertyFlames.com.
Last Time Out for Liberty
A pair of goals by freshman forward Baylee Gillmore propelled the Lady Flames past High Point, 2-0, Saturday afternoon at Vert Stadium. With the shutout victory, goalkeeper Holly Van Noord cemented her 21st career shutout, securing the program record previously held by Karen Blocker (2008-12).
Liberty, currently sitting in first place in the conference standings, moved to 9-3-1 overall and 5-0-1 in the Big South. The Lady Flames extended their unbeaten streak to eight games, tying the program record set in 2009.
The Lady Flames' conference record through the first six games marks its best start in Big South play since the 2009 season, when it began the conference slate with an identical record.
Brittany Aanderud chipped in an assist on Gillmore's first goal of the contest to garner her 22nd career helper, adding to her current program record.
A Look at the Lady Flames
Brittany Aanderud leads the team in points (13) on three goals and seven assists. The junior's assists total is also second in the Big South. Forwards Alanna Dunkle and Crystal Elmers pace the Lady Flames' offense with four goals apiece. Like Aanderud, Jennifer Knoebel, Rebeccah Smith and Madison Kauzlarich all have three goals. Jaime Bouffard and Baylee Gillmore each have two goals and four assists on the year.
Liberty has had four players receive weekly honors from the conference this year. Aanderud and Knoebel were named Big South Attacking Players of the Week, while defenders Alex Mack and Maddie Boone earned Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Goalkeeper Holly Van Noord leads the league in shutouts with seven. She is also first in the Big South in save percentage (.857) and second in goals-against average (0.62). Van Noord is currently 26th in the country in goals-against average and 28th in save percentage.
As a team, Liberty leads the Big South in assists (28), save percentage (.869), shutouts (8), fewest goals allowed (8) and goals-against average (0.59). Liberty is also third in the conference with 26 goals. According to the latest national rankings summary, Liberty is 13th in the country in save percentage, 18th in shutout percentage, 19th in goals-against average and 28th in assists.
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.
Gardner-Webb at a Glance
Gardner-Webb enters Saturday's contest with a 5-7-2 record overall and a 2-2-2 mark in Big South action. Although the Runnin' Bulldogs are 1-4 at home, the team is coming off one if its biggest wins of the year, defeating Radford, 2-0, this past Wednesday at Greene-Harbison Stadium.
Leading scorer Shelby Hooe posted the team's first goal in the opening 70 seconds, while Haley Ahrenholtz followed up with an insurance goal in the 65th minute.
Hooe leads the Runnin' Bulldogs with six goals and four assists. Goalkeeper Krista Chauvin has started 12 games in goal for Gardner-Webb. She currently has a goals-against average of 1.31 (fourth in the Big South) and is third in the league with 66 saves.
Liberty returns to Osborne Stadium on Wednesday to host Winthrop. The Eagles boast the conference's leading scorer, Krystyna Freda, who currently has 14 goals on the year. Match time is set for 3 p.m.