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Winthrop Holds Off Liberty for 18-13 Victory, Saturday
A late comeback attempt from Liberty came up short, as the Lady Flames fell, 18-13, to the Winthrop Eagles in their regular-season finale at Eagle Field on Saturday afternoon.
Liberty trailed Winthrop, 17-10, with 12:16 left before scoring three goals to draw within four (17-13). Lady Flames attacker Kayla Foster's shot at the 1:51 mark clanged off the crossbar, thwarting Liberty's final come-from-behind efforts. Winthrop Nicole Beaton's fifth goal of the day and 51st of the year sealed the win for the Eagles.
Beatson's five markers paced the Eagles, while Katherine Judge and Katie Clark scored four times each. Liberty was led by freshman Carly White, who matched a career high with four goals. The Lady Flames were unable to contain Eagles' free-position attempts, as the hosts converted 9-of-11 free-position shots in the contest.
Winthrop (8-9) closes Big South Conference competition at 5-2 and has earned the No. 3 seed for the 2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship, while Liberty (5-12) finishes 4-3 in league play and will be the No. 4 seed for the conference tournament.
The Eagles jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first 15:38 of Saturday's contest and never looked back. In those first 15-plus minutes, Winthrop scored three times on free-position attempts, including two from Ellie Marindin. Marindin's first marker of the day provided the home side a 1-0 lead at the 24:58 mark. Judge's second tally of the day on a free-position strike pushed the lead to 6-1.
Liberty answered with a quick spurt, scoring three goals in just 15 seconds. White's first of the day brought the score to 6-2. Following a Brianna McCaffrey draw control, she found Kayla Foster for her first goal of the day to bring it to within three (6-3) with 13:01 left in the opening half.
McCaffrey won the ensuing draw control and snapped a pass to Foster, who fed White. White ripped a shot in the top right corner for her second tally of the day, closing the gap to two, 6-4, with 12:54 on the first half clock.
But Winthrop responded with another 6-1 run of its own to take a commanding 12-5 lead with 2:18 to go in the half. During that run, Clark scored three of her goals.
The Lady Flames closed the half with two goals to draw within five, 12-7. Senior Courtney Brown shook off a defender with a nifty spin move and beat Eagles goalkeeper Chloe Wormsley for her 15th of the season with 43.4 seconds remaining in the half. Liberty scored in the half's final 10 seconds, as Foster found the back of the net for her second of the afternoon.
The Lady Flames were plagued by yellow cards and fouls throughout the day. Liberty picked up four of its five yellow cards in the first half and also committed 28 of its 45 fouls in the opening stanza.
White opened the scoring for Liberty in the second half, scoring with 25:36 left to cut the deficit to 12-8. However, Winthrop answered the bell again with a 5-2 run this time to lead, 17-10, with 12:16 to go. Big South leading goal scorer Nicole Beatson (51 goals) recorded three goals during the stretch, while Judge and Yeager found the back of the net as well.
Liberty's goals during that stretch came from White (fourth of the day, free-position) and Nikki Stumpf, her second of the day. Stumpf snagged a high pass from White and sent a left-handed shot past Wormsley for the fifth goal of her freshman campaign.
The Lady Flames' final three markers came from the sticks of McCaffrey (31st of year), Grace Fletcher and Foster. Fletcher's was a quick flick one-timer from inside the eight-meter arc, set up by a pass from Paige Britton. Foster's third tally of the day came with 4:10 left in the match and made the score 17-13 in favor of Winthrop before Beatson's final goal of the afternoon settled the final outcome.
Winthrop outshot Liberty, 42-26, and also collected 27 ground balls, compared to just 11 for Liberty. The Eagles held a slight edge in draw controls, 17-16, including a game-high 11 from Judge. McCaffrey paced Liberty with five.
Liberty will begin 2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship play next Saturday, April 29 with a quarterfinal match against No. 5 seed Longwood (7-10, 3-4 Big South) at noon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field. The Lady Flames defeated the Lancers, 18-8, on April 5 in Farmville, Va.