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Field Hockey Faces St. Joe's in Season Opener Friday
Liberty field hockey, the defending NorPac East Division champions, opens the 2013 campaign at home on Friday versus Saint Joseph's. The contest against the Hawks is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m at Liberty Field Hockey Field.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live video will both be available for Friday's matchup on LibertyFlames.com by clicking on the live stats or live video links on the field hockey schedule/results page. Jacob Johnston and Robert Morris will handle the call on the video stream, which is free courtesy of the Big South Network. Fans can also follow the game through periodic twitter updates from @libertyflames.
Series Against Saint Joseph's
Saint Joseph's holds a 1-0 edge in the all-time series with Liberty. For the second consecutive year, the Lady Flames will open the season against the Hawks. Last season, Liberty fell 2-1 in Philadelphia. Abbey Basom recorded her first career goal in the loss.
Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames return 10 starters from last season's squad which finished with a 16-6 overall record and captured the NorPac East Division title with a 7-1 conference mark. Competing as the No. 1 seed from the east division, Liberty downed Pacific, 2-1, in overtime, before ousting Davidson, 3-1, in the semifinals. The Lady Flames magical season ended at the hands of nationally ranked Stanford, 3-0, in the title contest. Head coach Jodi Murphy earned NorPac Co-Coach of the Year honors, after leading Liberty to a 10-win improvement from its inaugural season in 2011.
Liberty returns all of its offensive firepower from last season. The Lady Flames led the conference in scoring margin and finished second in goals per game. Headlining the group of returning offensive players from a year ago are sophomores Natalie Barr, Sarah Gipe and Basom. Barr, the 2012 NorPac East Division Offensive Player of the Year, led the squad with 40 points (16 goals, 8 assists), while also leading the Lady Flames in shots (100), shots on goal (59) and defensive saves (4). Gipe finished second on the team with 28 points (13 goals, 2 assists), en route to the NorPac Rookie of the Year award. One of Liberty's two all-conference honorees along with Barr, Basom racked up 22 points (8 goals, 6 assists).
On defense, the Lady Flames welcome back Ann Jefferis for her senior season. Jefferis redshirted last season after starting every single game in the cage for Liberty in 2011. Jefferis anchors a defense which also returns strong backs Megan Johnson and Hannah Jones. Liberty's defense put up impressive numbers last season, ranking first in the conference and 11th overall in the nation in goals-against average.
Welcome to the Program
Liberty welcomes its smallest class of incoming freshmen in the short three-year history of the program. Twins Serena and Bethany Barr join their older sister Natalie Barr on the team. Ketura Landis, Olivia Carroll and Carrie Logie round out the Lady Flames' class of 2017.
Junior Helen Doolittle has been a mainstay in the Lady Flames' lineup in its first two seasons of competition. The Lancaster, Pa. native is the only player in program history to start all 39 games.
Saint Joseph's at a Glance
The Hawks finished the 2012 season with a 4-15 overall record and a 1-6 mark in the Atlantic 10. Head coach Michelle Finegan enters her 17th season at the helm of the program.
Saint Joseph's returns a pair of all-conference performers from a year ago. Junior Jordan Martin earned second-team honors, while sophomore Megan Brosious was tabbed to the all-rookie team. Martin paced the Hawks with 16 points (7 goals, 2 assists) in 2012.
The Hawks return just two seniors this season. Finegan will have to rely on a number of underclassmen as 14 of the team's 23 players are either sophomores or freshmen.
The Lady Flames will trek across the country next weekend to square off against a pair of NorPac West Division foes. On Sept. 6, Liberty will face UC Davis in a neutral site game at Cal at 10 p.m. EST. The Lady Flames will wrap up the weekend versus Cal on Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. EST. The contests will serve as the beginning of a six-game road stretch for Liberty.