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Lady Flames Soccer Heads to Rock Hill
The Liberty women's soccer team will be looking for its first victory of 2010 this weekend, when it heads to Rock Hill, S.C. for the Winthrop Tournament. The four team tournament takes place at Eagle Field and also includes Winthrop, Appalachian State and Marshall.
The Lady Flames begin tournament action Friday at 4:30 p.m. against Appalachian State. Liberty then concludes the weekend with a contest against Marshall at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Liberty/Appalachian State Series Information
Liberty heads into its matchup with Appalachian State looking to even the series. The Lady Flames currently hold a 3-4-0 record against the Mountaineers. The most recent meeting took place Oct. 8, 2002 in Boone, N.C., resulting in a 1-0 loss for Liberty in overtime.
Scouting the Mountaineers
Friday's contest marks Appalachian State's season opener. Last season, the Mountaineers finished with an overall record of 6-9-4 and a 4-2-2 posting in Southern Conference play.
On Saturday, the Mountaineers earned a 3-2 decision in an exhibition game against the North Georgia Lady Saints. Appalachian State received goals from juniors Nicole Martinez and Katy Dodd and freshman Amy Werdine, who netted the game winner.
Liberty/Marshall Series Information
Liberty's game against Marshall marks the second meeting between the two squads. The previous meeting also took place at a neutral site, as the two squads met on Sept. 10, 1999 at the Penguin Soccer Cup in Youngstown, Ohio. Marshall took the contest against the Lady Flames, 1-0.
Scouting the Herd
Prior to Sunday's matchup with the Lady Flames, Marshall will meet tournament host Winthrop Friday night at 7 p.m. Marshall enters the weekend after dropping its season opener 3-2, to Cleveland State. The Herd fell behind early, leaving themselves a 2-0 deficit at halftime. A Katie Ball header, off an Angela DeSumma cross cut the lead in half.
However, it would not stay that way for long. The Viking's Jessica McCloy retaliated with a header of her own to score the eventual game-winner and give Cleveland State a two goal cushion. DeSumma would add a goal in the 76th minute, but that is as close as the Herd would come. DeSumma ended with a goal and an assist, while accumulating a game-high four shots on the afternoon, placing all four on goal.
Liberty will not meet tournament host and fellow Big South Conference competitor Winthrop during this weekend's action. However, the two squads are slated to square off on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. inside Osborne Stadium. The Lady Flames will look for redemption that night, as the 2009 regular-season Big South Champions fell to the Eagles on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the conference championship.
Despite the Liberty women's soccer team (0-1-1) holding a 1-0 edge for the majority of its contest with South Carolina State (1-0-1) on Sunday afternoon at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium, the Lady Bulldogs rallied in the 83rd minute to ultimately force a 1-1 tie.
The contest remained scoreless for the opening 16 minutes until midfielder Aimee Luurtsema found the net for an unassisted goal at 16:33. The junior's marker was her first of the season and the fourth during her collegiate career.
Liberty held off the Lady Bulldogs' offensive attack for the entire first period and much of the second stanza. South Carolina State's goal at 83:05 came when Darci Smith took the Lady Bulldogs' final shot of the game, knotting the contest for the 1-1 final.
Senior goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt recorded eight saves in Liberty's season opener against Virginia last Friday, surpassing her previous career-high of seven. This past Sunday, Nyholt upped the ante once again, recording a new career-high of nine saves against South Carolina State.
Through Liberty's first two games, Nyholt sits at number two among Big South goalkeepers with 16. She is currently six saves behind Presbyterian's Sarah Beth Anderson, who has 22 in 2010.
New Soccer and Track Operations Building Named
Liberty Athletics Director Jeff Barber and the Liberty Athletics Department have announced the naming of the new soccer and track and field operations building as the Luurtsema Center.
The Luurtsema Center will serve as an operations building for men's and women's soccer and both track and field programs. The 5,000 square foot building on the south end of the Osborne Stadium complex was made possible by a leadership gift from Bill and Wanda Luurtsema of Grandville, Mich.
The couple will be publicly honored for their gift during Liberty's football game against Charleston Southern and women's soccer contest against Winthrop on Oct. 9, both part of Liberty's annual homecoming weekend.
The Luurtsema Center, which was completed in mid-August, also houses locker rooms, a training room and a laundry facility.
Hain at the Helm
Liberty Head Women's Soccer Coach Jessica Hain enters her third season at the program's helm. Last season, Hain led the Lady Flames to a Big South regular-season title and was named 2009 Big South Coach of the Year.
Hain came to Liberty after three seasons with the Charlotte Lady Eagles of the United States (USL) W-League, the premier women's soccer league in the United States, as an assistant to head coach Lee Horton. With the club, Hain was responsible for recruiting players for the team, implementing training sessions, running camps and clinics and coaching, training and teaching sports ministry, both in the United States and in Brazil.
A four-year letterwinner in the collegiate ranks, Hain played two years in the midfield at Ohio State (1995-96) and two seasons at N.C. State (1997-98). She was a three-time National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) of America Scholar-Athlete from 1995-97 and earned Academic All-ACC honors in 1998.
The Liberty women's soccer team was chosen first in the Big South Conference's annual preseason poll, as voted by the league's head women's soccer coaches.
Liberty, the defending 2009 regular-season champions, received five first-place votes and 94 points as the 2010 women's soccer favorite. The Lady Flames finished ahead of Charleston Southern in the poll, as the Buccaneers totaled 87 points and four first-place votes.
Worst to First
The 2009 Lady Flames executed the best turnaround in Big South history, progressing from finishing last in the conference with a mark of 3-12-2 in 2008 to a first place finish with a 9-7-3 record in 2009. Liberty also claimed a 6-1-3 conference posting, earning the moniker of 2009 Big South regular-season champions.
Liberty will make its 2010 debut inside Osborne Stadium next Wednesday at 7 p.m. against James Madison. The Lady Flames are looking for their first-ever win against the CAA power, as the Dukes lead the series, 3-0.