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Liberty to Host James Madison on Friday
Coming off a solid performance in last weekend's Winthrop Tournament, the Liberty women's soccer team makes its 2010 debut at Osborne Stadium on Friday, squaring off with the James Madison Dukes at 7 p.m.
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Live stats will be available on LibertyFlames.com, by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results page. Flames fans will notice a new look to the live stats feature, as LibertyFlames.com recently made the switch to the CBS Sports GameTracker interface.
Friday's home opener against James Madison will be the fifth meeting between the two teams with the Dukes holding a 4-0 edge in the all-time series. The last meeting took place on Sept. 6, 2009 at the JMU Lacrosse/Soccer Complex in Harrisonburg, Va., resulting in a 3-0 win for the Dukes.
Scouting the Dukes
James Madison enters Friday's contest with a 2-1-0 record. The Dukes opened the season with a 2-1 victory at Richmond on Aug. 20, receiving goals from midfielder Teresa Rynier and defender Corinna Strickland. Last Friday, the CAA power hosted St. John's in its opening match of the JMU/Comfort Inn Invitational, dropping the contest to the Red Storm, 1-0. Sunday, the Dukes closed out the Invitational a 1-0 win over Villanova. James Madison's lone goal came from junior forward Yolie Anderson-Golhor.
Lady Flames Finish 1-0-1 in Winthrop Tournament
The Liberty women's soccer team picked up its first win of 2010, last Friday, defeating Appalachian State, 4-1, in the opening contest of the Winthrop Tournament in Rock Hill, S.C. With the victory, the Lady Flames collected their fourth win all-time against the Southern Conference power. Liberty's three-goal margin marked the largest victory over the Mountaineers in the series.
Junior midfielder Aimee Luurtsema led the way for the Lady Flames with her five points on two goals and one assist. With the pair of markers, the Grandville, Mich., native now has three on the season to lead Liberty. Both her point and goal totals were career single-game highs for the midfielder. Midfielder Laura Nyholt and senior forward Maria Owen also added a goal apiece to complete Liberty's quartet of tallies.
The Lady Flames closed out the Winthrop Tournament on Sunday against Conference USA member Marshall. After being down 3-2 in the second half, Liberty forward Silvia Betancourt netted a late goal to send the contest into overtime. Neither team found nylon in the two proceeding overtime periods, forcing a 3-3 tie at Eagle Field.
Betancourt led the Lady Flames with two goals, cementing her third career multi-goal game. Following Appalachian State's 2-1 win over host Winthrop in the second Sunday contest, the all-tournament team was announced with four Lady Flames making the squad – Betancourt (tournament MVP), senior forward Maria Owen, Luurtsema and sophomore midfielder Madison Short.
Surpassing the Past
With three goals and one assist through the first four games of the season, Luurtsema is already close to surpassing her season totals from 2009. Last season, the midfielder netted three goals, three assists and garnered nine points in 19 games played. Luurtsema is currently tied for second in the Big South in total points with seven.
Junior midfielder Aimee Luurtsema scored two goals in Liberty's 4-1 win over Appalachian State last Friday, her first career multi-goal game.
Silvia Betancourt's two goals in Liberty's 3-3 tie with Marshall was her third career multi-goal game. Betancourt previously scored a pair of goals during two games in the 2009 season. The two goal contests came at Francis Marion on Sept. 24, 2009 and Coastal Carolina on Oct. 5, 2009.
Senior goalkeeper Ashley Nyholt recorded eight saves in Liberty's season opener against Virginia on Aug. 20, surpassing her previous career-high of seven, which she accomplished three times. The most recent time came at UNC Asheville in a 1-0 victory on Oct 30, 2009. Two days after her eight-save performance, Nyholt upped the ante once again, recording a new career-high of nine saves against South Carolina State.
Through Liberty's first four games, Nyholt sits at number two among Big South goalkeepers with 24 saves. She is currently three saves behind Presbyterian's Sarah Beth Anderson, who has 27 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
The Lady Flames will take a one-week break from competition following their contest with James Madison. Liberty is slated to visit another CAA opponent when it takes on VCU in Richmond, Va. on Sept. 10. After their matchup with the Rams, the Lady Flames will head down to Elon, N.C. for a road contest with the Elon Phoenix on Sept. 12.