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Liberty Shuts Out Radford on Senior Day
The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team sent its three seniors out in style on the final day of the regular season, shutting out the visiting Radford Highlanders, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon at Liberty Field Hockey Field. The senior trio of Ann Jefferis, Jordan Richardson and Micailah Sloman helped propel the Lady Flames to their program record ninth straight win and fourth consecutive shutout.
Liberty, who wrapped up the NorPac East Division regular season title last weekend, finishes the regular season with a 14-4 overall record and an unblemished 8-0 conference record. The Lady Flames push their winning streak against NorPac East foes to 15 consecutive contests. The loss drops the Highlanders to 5-14 on the season and 3-5 in league matches.
Liberty's defense stymied Radford in the opening 35 minutes of play. The Highlanders didn't manage a shot or penalty corner against the Lady Flames' staunch defensive unit of Hannah Jones, Helen Doolittle, Serena Barr and Megan Johnson.
Radford's defense also proved tough in the first half. Liberty forced six penalty corners and produced five shots, but couldn't find the back of the net during the opening frame..
The Lady Flames broke the scoreless tie with 3:21 elapsed in the second stanza. Sloman, serving as the inserter for the first time this season, whipped a pass into the top of the circle on a short corner attempt for Liberty. Bethany Barr stopped the pass, tapped it to Doolittle and the junior drilled the ball past Highlanders' goalkeeper Sidney Encarnacion and into the cage. Doolittle's second goal of the season put Liberty on top, 1-0.
Radford tallied its first shot attempts of the contest in the 44th minute. Sydney Myrdal was turned away by the Lady Flames' defense on two shot attempts, including a glove save by Jefferis on the second shot.
Liberty extended its lead to 2-0 with 19:37 showing on the game clock, scoring on another penalty corner opportunity. Ashlee Krulock sent the insert pass to Bethany Barr at the top of the circle. Instead of dishing the ball off to a teammate, Barr took a dribble right and lined a shot into the right corner of the cage for her third marker of the season.
Natalie Barr produced the final goal for the Lady Flames in the 63rd minute. Abbey Basom dribbled along the left base line and dumped a pass toward the middle to Barr. Barr gathered the pass and drilled a reverse shot into the far corner of the cage. Barr's single-season program-record 17th goal put Liberty in front, 3-0.
Jefferis preserved her sixth shutout of the season and the team's seventh overall with a save on shot by Myrdal with 2:09 remaining in the contest.
For the contest, the Lady Flames held the edge in both shots, 17-3, and penalty corners, 11-2.
In goal, Jefferis tallied a pair of saves en route to her 13th win of the season. Saturday's contest marked the first time in three games that the redshirt senior was forced to make a save. Encarnacion finished the match with three saves for the Highlanders.
With the regular season behind them, the Lady Flames turn their attention to the NorPac Tournament, which gets under way on Thursday at Liberty Field Hockey Field. Liberty, the No. 1 seed from the east division, squares off against Cal, the west division's fourth seed, at 1:30 p.m. For more information on the NorPac Tournament, visit the tournament central page.
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