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No. 2 Seed Liberty Meets No. 1 Seed Radford, Sunday
The No. 2 seed Liberty women's soccer team looks to capture its fourth Big South Championship, Sunday. Standing in the way of the Lady Flames is No. 1 seed and two-time defending champion Radford, who took the regular season matchup, 3-0, on Oct. 9. Game time for the rematch is slated for 2 p.m., with the contest streaming live on ESPN3.
Radford leads the all-time series versus the Lady Flames with a 16-7-4 mark. The two squads last met in tournament play during the 2011 Big South Championship semifinals, resulting in a 4-1 win for the Highlanders (Nov. 4, 2011) en route to their first of two straight titles. The defeat remains Liberty's lone postseason loss since capturing its most recent Big South Championship in 2005, going 6-1-4 in tournament action during the span.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans can access the ESPN3 broadcast by clicking the live video link on the women's soccer schedule/results panel. Matt Hogue will handle play-by-play duties, while Evan Lepler will serve as the color analyst. Live stats will also be available courtesy of the Coastal Carolina media relations office.
A Look at Liberty
The No. 2 seed Liberty women's soccer team clinched a spot in Big South Championship finals for the first time in seven years, defeating No. 6 seed High Point, Friday night, at CCU Soccer Field, 4-1.
The Lady Flames received goals from four different Lady Flames – Casey Norris, Geena Swentik, Dawn Elmers and Alanna Dunkle.
Brittany Aanderud posted two assists in the contest, giving her eight on the year. The sophomore is now tied with Madison Short (2010) for second highest single-season total in program history. Aanderud also has sole possession of the No. 3 spot on Liberty's all-time assist listing with 13 helpers.
With the win, Liberty improved to 15-5-1 on the year, tying the 2000 squad for the most wins by a Liberty women's soccer team in a single season.
Holly Van Noord played the entire contest in goal for the Lady Flames, finishing with nine saves. The netminder leads the league in shutouts and goals-against average (0.60) and is second in the Big South with a save percentage of .863. She needs one more shutout to surpass Radford's Che Brown for the Big South single-season shutout record.
Aanderud remains the team leader in total points with 18, posting five goals on the season to accompany her eight assists. Elmers is second with 14 points with six goals and two assists.
Defender Casey Norris has cemented her place in the Liberty record books, this season, appearing in more contests (82) throughout her collegiate career than any other Lady Flame in program history. Norris recently surpassed Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Nancy Davis, who held the previous record with 78 total games.
Five Earn All-Conference Honors
This week, five Lady Flames received Big South All-Conference honors. Midfielder Brittany Aanderud and defender Casey Norris were named to the conference's first team, while junior defender Maddie Boone and goalkeeper Holly Van Noord earned second team honors. Van Noord and forward Julia Delgatti also secured spots on the conference's all-freshman squad. Much like Van Noord, Boone picked up a second accolade, as she was named to the all-academic team.
Radford at a Glance
After playing to a draw with No. 4 Winthrop in the semifinals, Friday, the Highlanders advanced to the championship match, 5-4, on penalty kicks. Radford is 15-2-2, marking the second highest win total for the Highlanders in program history.
Melanie Priestly paces Radford with 17 points on seven goals and three assists, followed by Sydney Golden who has 16 points (six goals, four assists).
Senior goalkeeper Che' Brown has started 18 contests for Radford. She is second in the conference in goals-against average (0.63) and is tied with Van Noord in save percentage (.863). Brown also has six shutouts on the year.
Head Coach Jessica Hain
Jessica Hain is in her fifth season as the head coach of the Lady Flames. Coming into the tournament, Hain has a career record of 55-49-14. In 2009, she earned Big South Coach of the Year honors, becoming the first coach in Big South history to take a last place team to first place the following season.
Liberty's All-Time Marks in Big South Championship
The Lady Flames are 17-8-6 all-time in the Big South Championship, capturing titles in 2000, 2001 and 2005. Liberty is currently second in the conference in tournament wins and is third all-time behind Radford (5) and the Panthers (4) with three championships.
This season marks Liberty's sixth finals appearance, tying the Highlanders for the second most Big South finals appearances in conference history.
The Lady Flames' most common opponents in the tournament have been Charleston Southern (2-1-1), High Point (4-1) and UNC Asheville (2-0-2). The Lady Flames have also played Radford (2-1), Coastal Carolina (2-0), Winthrop (0-1-1), Gardner-Webb (0-0-1), Longwood (0-0-1) and former conference members UMBC (0-3), Elon (2-1), Howard (1-0), Towson (0-1) and Birmingham Southern (1-0).
Lady Flames and the Big South Championship
The Lady Flames captured their third Big South Championship by winning the 2005 Big South Women's Soccer Championship. Liberty's other titles came in 2000 and 2001.
With their appearance in 2006, the Lady Flames have played in five conference finals, posting a 3-1-1 record. Liberty made three straight trips to the Big South final from 1999 to 2001.
Liberty fell in its first appearance in the title game in 1999, 3-2, in overtime to Elon. The following year, the Lady Flames claimed their first championship with a 2-0 victory over Elon and then made it back-to-back titles with another 2-0 title-game win over the Phoenix in 2001.
Liberty returned to the title game in 2005 and added its third trophy since 2000, with a 3-0 victory over UNC Asheville.