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Lady Flames Win Season Opener Over Stetson, 16-3
Liberty received goals from seven different players, including a game-high four goals from Jen Freymond, allowing the Lady Flames to win their 2013 season opener over Stetson, 16-3, on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, Liberty improves to 2-2 all-time in season openers and 1-0 on the young season. Playing in their first game ever as a program, the Hatters fall to 0-1.
Stetson jumped on the scoreboard first at the 20:55 mark of the first half. Melanie Fredericks converted on a free-position attempt to put the home team ahead, 1-0.
The Lady Flames wasted little time in evening up the score at one apiece. Senior Candice Parsons fired a shot past Hatters' goalie Whitney Myers on a free-position attempt for her first goal of the season.
Liberty took the lead with 17:38 remaining in the first half. Team captain Freymond received a pass from Nina Dunay and whipped it past Myers to give the Lady Flames the 2-1 advantage.
The Lady Flames upped their lead to 3-1 with a little over 16 minutes gone by in the opening stanza. After a Stetson shot by Danielle Horgan was saved by Liberty goalie Kristen Masullo, Jen Moyer raced the ball down the length of the field and found Morgan Becker cutting towards the goal. Liberty's leading scorer from a year ago took the pass and whipped the ball into the back of the net.
A pair of Liberty freshmen, Kallie Britton and Alyssa Kidder tallied their first career goals to help the Lady Flames extend their lead to 5-1 with just under 10 minutes showing on the first half clock.
Both teams traded goals during the remaining 3:25 of the first stanza. Samantha Akl scored for the Hatters, before Sam Struss pushed Liberty's lead back to four goals, 6-2, heading into the break.
Liberty doubled up Stetson in shots during the opening frame 16-8 and recorded 13 ground balls to the Hatters' seven. The Lady Flames turned Stetson over 13 times in the first 30 minutes, while only turning the ball over nine times themselves.
Stetson cut the lead to three a mere 31 seconds into the second half, as Akl found the back of the net on a free-position attempt for her second goal of the contest.
Liberty began to pull away with four straight goals beginning at 29:08 of the second half. Britton began the run with her second goal of the contest to push the Lady Flames' lead back to four at 7-3. Dunay, Becker and Struss chipped in three more goals to increase Liberty's advantage to 10-3 and force a Stetson timeout. Struss, Britton and Kelly Belue notched assists during the four-goal run.
The stoppage of time did not slow the Liberty offense. Freymond fired home her second and third goals of the day off of assists from Struss and Belue to give the Lady Flames a comfortable 12-3 lead with 8:32 left in the contest.
Liberty ended the game with four more goals during the final 5:23. Struss assisted on Dunay's second tally of the afternoon, before Freymond recorded her team-high fourth goal of the day off of a helper from Becker.
With less than a minute remaining, Becker scored on an unassisted goal for her third goal of the contest and Kidder added her second of the game on a pass from Belue to give the Lady Flames the 16-3 win.
Liberty outshot the Hatters 31-21 and scooped up 17 ground balls to the home team's 12. The Lady Flames were successful on 16 of 20 clear attempts on the day, including 7 of 8 in the second half. Both teams finished the game with 15 turnovers.
Masullo made 14 stops in goal for Liberty, while Meyers finished with 10 saves for Stetson.
The win marked Liberty's largest margin of victory since Apr. 23, 2011 when they routed Lees-McRae, 22-6.
Liberty returns to the Hill City on Saturday for its home opener, beginning at noon against the Midshipmen of Navy.