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Lady Flames Dominate Mountaineers, 9-1
The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team continued its winning ways on Sunday by defeating the Appalachian State Mountaineers, 9-1, at Liberty Field Hockey Field. Six different players tallied goals for Liberty, including Natalie Barr who scored a game-high three markers and also added two assists.
The Lady Flames have now won four consecutive contests and 11 straight against NorPac East opponents. Liberty improves to 9-4 overall and remain unscathed in NorPac play at 4-0. The loss drops Appalachian State to 2-11 and 1-4 in conference play.
In four conference games so far this season, Liberty has outscored its opponents, 21-6. The Lady Flames' nine markers on Sunday is their highest goal total against a NorPac opponent, topping last season's eight tallies against the Mountaineers on Oct. 19.
From the outset of the game, the Liberty offense peppered shots at Mountaineers' goalkeeper Sarah Anderson. On the Lady Flames' sixth shot of the game, Jordan Richardson buried a long pass from Natalie Barr into the cage for her third tally of the year and an early 1-0 Liberty lead.
Appalachian State's Lynnae Luettich knotted the score at one apiece off of an assist from Hanna French with just over 20 minutes remaining in the first half. Luettich's goal was the only offense the Mountaineers' would produce for the remainder of the opening stanza.
Liberty closed the first half with a flurry of goals, beginning at the 5:22 mark. Natalie Barr scored the first of her three goals off of a rebound from a shot by sister Bethany Barr. Less than 30 seconds later, the Barr sisters were in on the action again as Bethany Barr assisted on Natalie Barr's second score of the contest.
The Lady Flames' final score of the opening frame came in the 32nd minute. Reigning NorPac Rookie of the Year Sarah Gipe notched her first goal of the season, scoring on a crossing pass from Natalie Barr. The Barr to Gipe connection sent Liberty into the halftime break with a comfortable 4-1 advantage.
Liberty wasted little time extending its lead to 5-1 coming out of the break. Bethany Barr dribbled around a Mountaineer defender and into the top of the circle. The freshman ripped a low line drive across the turf and into the back of the cage for her first collegiate goal a mere 1:15 into the second half.
The Lady Flames put the game out of reach with a quick three-goal run, beginning at the 32:36 mark. Off a short corner attempt for Liberty, Serena Barr blasted a shot from the left side of the circle toward the cage. Hannah Jones was able to get her stick on the ball and knock it in for her fifth goal of the year.
On the Lady Flames' next penalty corner opportunity, Serena Barr was on the scoring end of an assist from Helen Doolittle. The Lurgan, Northern Ireland native's fourth marker of the year put the home team on top 7-1 with 19:37 remaining in the game.
A penalty on the Mountaineers on a shot by Bethany Barr set Liberty up for a stroke opportunity. Jones took the stroke for the Lady Flames and flicked it into the top left corner of the cage, making her two-for-two in stroke opportunities this season.
Natalie Barr capped the day's scoring in the 63rd minute of play. The sophomore collected a loose ball in front of the goal and smacked her team-leading 11th tally of the season into the cage. Natalie Barr's third score of the contest gave Liberty what proved to be the final advantage, 9-1.
For the contest, Liberty notched 27 shots compared to just five for Appalachian State. The 27 shots were the Lady Flames' second highest total this season. Liberty also held the advantage in penalty corners, 11-2.
In goal, making her first start of the season, sophomore Mallory Cuccio tallied two saves for the Lady Flames. Anderson stopped seven shots in 57 minutes of action, before being relieved by Cristina Ceppi with 13 minutes remaining in the game. Ceppi tallied two saves during her action on the turf.
Liberty begins the second half of its NorPac schedule on Thursday against Longwood. The contest is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. at Liberty Field Hockey Field.
For a more in-depth look at the Lady Flames' field hockey program, including postgame interviews and video packages, follow the team on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.