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Lady Flames Host Davidson in NorPac Opener, Saturday
The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team begins defense of its NorPac East Division title on Saturday, as the Davidson Wildcats visit Liberty Mountain for the Lady Flames' NorPac opener. The contest between last season's first and second place finishers in the division is scheduled to begin at noon at Liberty Field Hockey Field.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live video will both be available for Saturday'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 games through periodic twitter updates from @libertyflames.
Series History versus Davidson
After posting a season sweep last season, the Lady Flames hold a 3-1 record all-time against the Wildcats. Liberty blanked Davidson, 4-0, on Oct. 21 in Lynchburg, before downing the Wildcats on the road, 3-2, on the final day of the regular season, clinching the NorPac East Division for the Lady Flames. The two squads met again in the semifinals of the NorPac tournament, with Liberty coming away with a 3-1 victory.
Liberty at a Glance
The Lady Flames currently hold a 5-4 overall record heading into Saturday's contest. Liberty split a pair of matches this past weekend at Liberty Field Hockey Field. On Friday, the Lady Flames dominated Saint Louis, 10-0, in their first home game since the season opener on Aug. 30 versus Saint Joseph's. Liberty then went toe-to-toe with No. 3 Virginia on Sunday, falling to the Cavaliers, 2-0, despite holding the visitors to their lowest goal total of the season.
Liberty has three players with double-digit scoring figures so far this season. Leading the way is sophomore Natalie Barr with 12 points (4 goals, 4 assists), while top goal scorer Ashlee Krulock (5 goals, 1 assist) and Hannah Jones (4 goals, 3 assists) have 11 points each.
The Lady Flames have been stout defensively this season, holding their opponents to just 1.22 goals per game. Reigning NorPac East Defensive Player of the Week Helen Doolittle and redshirt senior goalkeeper Ann Jefferis anchor the defensive unit which ranks eighth nationally in shutouts per game (0.33) and 12th in the country in goals against average (1.22).
After surrendering just one goal in two games this past weekend, Jefferis lowered her goals against average to 1.52 this season and raised her save percentage to .804.
Lady Flames Among NorPac and NCAA Leaders
NorPac (as of 9/29/13)
Shots: Natalie Barr (4th/36)
Points: Natalie Barr (T-2nd/12), Hannah Jones (T-4th/11), Ashlee Krulock (T-4th/11)
Goals: Ashlee Krulock (T-2nd/5), Natalie Barr (T-5th/4), Hannah Jones (T-5th/4)
Assists: Natalie Barr (T-2nd/4), Hannah Jones (T-7th/3)
Saves: Ann Jefferis (6th/41)
Goals Against Average: Ann Jefferis (2nd/1.18)
Save Percentage: Ann Jefferis (2nd/.804)
Shutouts: Ann Jefferis (2nd/2)
NCAA (as of 9/29/13)
Goals Against Average: Ann Jefferis (12th/1.18)
Save Percentage: Ann Jefferis (8th/.804)
Lady Flames in NorPac Play
Entering its second season as a member of the NorPac Conference, Liberty has already established itself as one of the top teams in the conference. After opening NorPac play last season 1-1, the Lady Flames reeled off six consecutive victories en route to the East Division title. Liberty continued its hot play in the NorPac tournament, collecting wins over Pacific, 2-1 (OT) and Davidson, 3-1. The Lady Flames became just the second ever East Division team to reach the title game. Liberty's magical run ended with a 3-0 loss to No. 13 Stanford.
Spreading the Wealth
Liberty's offense ranks first in the conference in goals scored with 25. Six different players have scored more than one goal, while a total of 12 Lady Flames have found the back of the cage during the first nine contests. Four more players have registered assists, raising the total number of players with points this season to 16.
Davidson at a Glance
The Wildcats split a pair of contests this past weekend, making their overall record 3-6 on the season. Saturday's contest against the Lady Flames will be Davidson's third conference clash of the year. The Wildcats dropped their first two matches, falling 2-1 to Appalachian State and 1-0 to Radford.
Offensively, Melissa Funsten leads the team in points (6 goals, 1 assists). Katherine English (3), Anna Davis (2) and Tyler McFayden (2) have each recorded multiple goals this season for Davidson. McFayden and Danielle King rank first and second on the team with five and four assists, respectively.
In the cage, Carolyn Macek has started eight of the team's 10 games so far this season. Macek has surrendered 17 total goals for a goals-against average of 2.42 goals per contest. The senior has notched 32 saves for a save percentage of .653.
Liberty will make a midweek trip to Longwood on Wednesday for its first conference road test of the season. The Lady Flames and Lancers will get underway at 4:30 p.m. at the Athletics Complex.