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Lady Flames Blank Davidson, 3-0
The Liberty defense posted its fifth shutout of the season and Natalie Barr scored two goals as the Lady Flames field hockey squad defeated the Davidson Wildcats 3-0 on Friday evening at Belk Turf Field. The victory moves Liberty within one victory of clinching its second consecutive NorPac East Division title.
Liberty's fifth shutout matches its total from last season. Natalie Barr's two goals give her 16 for the season and 41 points total. The 41 points breaks the single-season program record of 40, which Barr set last year.
The Lady Flames' seventh straight win improves their overall record to 12-4 and 6-0 in conference play. Liberty now has collected 13 consecutive victories against NorPac East opponents. Davidson's third shutout loss in a row drops its record to 5-11 and 1-5 in NorPac matches.
Liberty broke through first in the 15th minute of action. On a penalty corner attempt, the Lady Flames went with one of their bread-and-butter plays. Hannah Jones inserted the pass directly to the left side of the circle to Serena Barr. Barr swept the ball toward the left post and Jones was there to redirect the shot into the cage, putting Liberty in front, 1-0.
Staked to a 1-0 lead, the Liberty defense controlled the pace throughout the first half. The back line of Jones, Helen Doolittle, Serena Barr and Olivia Carroll, with the help of the midfielders, kept the Wildcats out of the circle for the majority of the half.
The Lady Flames forced two more penalty corners and notched a pair of shots in the remaining 20 minutes, but were not able to extend their lead heading into the halftime break.
Liberty outshot the Wildcats, 5-1, and forced four penalty corners to the home team's one in opening frame.
Liberty pushed its lead to 2-0 just 1:48 into the second half off of its fifth penalty corner attempt of the contest. Jones inserted the pass to Bethany Barr at the top of the circle. The stopper pushed it left to Natalie Barr who then dumped it back across to the right side to Doolittle. After making the pass, Natalie Barr rushed toward the center of the circle and ripped a Doolittle pass into the back of the goal for the first of her two scores on the evening.
The Lady Flames nearly extended their advantage to 3-0 with 7:40 remaining, but a defensive save by the Wildcats' Sydney Schreiner on a Natalie Barr shot kept it a two-goal game.
Natalie Barr's next shot would not be denied, as the conference's leading scorer tallied her second goal of the game with just under two minutes left to go in the contest. The sophomore dribbled around multiple Davidson defenders and into the top of the circle. Barr ripped a low strike along the turf and past the Wildcat goalkeeper, giving the Lady Flames the final 3-0 edge.
Liberty controlled all facets of the game, outshooting Davidson, 12-2, and forcing nine penalty corners to Davidson's one.
With the Lady Flames' defense keeping the ball out of the circle for the majority of the contest, goalkeeper Ann Jefferis didn't need to make a save en route to her 11th win of the season. Carolyn Macek notched three saves in each half in the cage for the Wildcats.
Liberty travels to Boone, N.C., on Sunday to face Appalachian State in its final NorPac road contest of the season. Game time against the Mountaineers is slated for noon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
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