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Liberty Set for Commonwealth Clash with Longwood Friday

September 23, 2010
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty (3-4-2) heads to Farmville, Va., to take on Longwood, Friday night. Game time at Longwood's Athletics Complex is slated for 7 p.m.

The Liberty women's soccer team heads to Farmville, Va., to take on Commonwealth competitor Longwood this Friday. The contest features two of the nation's leading scorers – Liberty's Aimee Luurtsema and Longwood's Lindsey Ottavio. Game time at Longwood's Athletics Complex is slated for 7 p.m.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats will be available on LibertyFlames.com, by clicking the appropriate link on the women's soccer schedule/results page. Live stats will be provided by the Longwood media relations office.

LU vs. LU
Liberty leads the all-time series versus Longwood heading into Friday's contest, holding a 6-2-1 mark against the Lancers. The two teams last met on Sept. 30, 2009 at Osborne Stadium, with Liberty edging its Farmville, Va., foe, 1-0. After 75 scoreless minutes, the Lady Flames were finally able to capitalize in the 76th minute, when senior Heather Bowling scored on a header off of a corner kick from Rachel Wisehart. The goal marked Bowling's first of her career, as well as Wisehart's first-ever assist.

Scouting the Lancers
Longwood currently touts a 6-4 record, heading into Friday night's Commonwealth Clash. The Lancers are riding a two-game winning streak, with a 6-0 victory over Elon this past Friday and a 2-0 win over Big South member Radford on Sunday.

Lindsey Ottavio leads the Lancers in scoring with 10 goals this season. The forward is also ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring and No. 2 in the nation in total points according to the latest NCAA women's soccer national rankings summary.

Helping set the table for Ottavio is Kelsey Pardue, who leads the team with five assists, making her No. 19 in the nation in helpers.

Common Opponents
At the midway point of the season, Liberty and Longwood share four common opponents – South Carolina State, VCU, Appalachian State and Elon.

Liberty is 1-2-1 against the quartet, tying South Carolina State (1-1, Aug. 22), besting Appalachian State (4-1, Aug. 27) and dropping back-to-back games to VCU (0-3, Sept. 10) and Elon (0-2, Sept. 12). Meanwhile, Longwood holds a 2-2 record against the same teams, falling to VCU (2-1, Aug. 20,) and Appalachian State (0-1, Sept. 12) while prevailing against South Carolina State (3-1, Aug. 29) and Elon (6-0, Sept. 17).

Following Friday's matchup, Charleston Southern is next on the docket for each team. The Lancers square off with the Buccaneers on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. in Charleston, S.C. The Lady Flames will head to the Palmetto State on Oct. 2. Game time for Liberty's meeting with the Buccaneers is slated for 3 p.m.

Longwood Against the Big South
The Lancers are currently 2-0 against Big South squads this season, allowing no goals in either game. On Aug. 31, Longwood hosted VMI, defeating the Keydets, 4-0. This past Sunday, the Lancers shut out Radford in Blacksburg, 2-0.

Last season, Longwood went 4-1 against Big South teams, with its lone loss coming at the hands of Liberty, as the Lady Flames bested the Lancers, 1-0, at Osborne Stadium on Sept. 30, 2009.

Luurtsema Named Player of the Week
Liberty women's soccer forward Aimee Luurtsema has been named the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Women's Soccer Attacking Player of the Week for her performances against Southern Virginia and Howard. Luurtsema is the first Liberty player this season to receive weekly honors, earning the first player of the week award of her collegiate career.

Last Time Out
The Liberty women's soccer team picked up its second-straight victory Friday night at Osborne Stadium, scoring all of its goals in the opening period to defeat Howard, 5-0.

Liberty's first half goal total marked the first time the Lady Flames scored five goals in the opening period since Oct. 16, 2007, when Liberty netted five in the first half in a 9-0 win against Southern Virginia.

Forward Aimee Luurtsema led the way for the Liberty offense, scoring a career-high three goals in the contest. Fellow forward Silvia Betancourt also finished with a solid night, netting a pair of markers and assisting on another.

Liberty Rebounds Against Southern Virginia
The Liberty women's soccer team returned to form on Sept. 15 at Osborne Stadium, shutting out Southern Virginia, 6-0.

Junior Aimee Luurtsema led the way for Liberty's offense, recording two goals, two assists and a career-high six points. The contest was the second multi-goal and multi-assist game of her career. Also finding the net in the contest were forwards Maria Owen and Silvia Betancourt, defender Ariana Espinoza and midfielder Madison Short.

Leading the Way
Aimee Luurtsema currently leads the Lady Flames in goals (8), assists (3) and points (19), this season and is ranked No. 7 in the nation in both total goals and points. Through nine games in 2010, she is currently tied for first in the Big South in total points with Charleston Southern's leading scorer Marky Boyce. Luurtsema's point total also places her at fourth on Liberty's all-time single-season goal scoring list and fourth all-time on Liberty's single-season points list.

Joining an Exclusive Club
Aimee Luurtsema's 19 points marks the highest season total by a Liberty player in 10 years. The only player in Liberty history to ever score more than 19 points in a single season was Nancy Davis. One of the program's most decorated players, Davis accomplished the feat in three-consecutive years: 1998 (21), 1999 (43) and 2000 (33).

Betancourt in the Books
Forward Silvia Betancourt concluded last week's play with a total of three goals, making her fifth all-time on Liberty's career goal list with 16 goals. Fellow forward Maria Owen was tied for the fifth spot with Leanne Faulk (1988-91) after scoring a goal in Wednesday's game against Southern Virginia. However, Betancourt found the net twice in Liberty's 5-0 win over Howard on Friday, allowing her to move ahead on the program's record list.

Owen Achieves Milestone
Maria Owen recorded a goal and an assist in Liberty's 6-0 win over Southern Virginia on Wednesday, allowing her to secure the fifth spot on Liberty's all-time career points list with 39 points. Owen's teammate Silvia Betancourt is following closely behind with 38 career points.

First Time for Everything
Ariana Espinoza and Madison Short netted their first goals of 2010 during Liberty's 6-0 win over Southern Virginia on Sept. 15. Espinoza recorded her first career tally in the 12th minute of the contest, heading the ball into the goal off a corner kick from Short.

Short tallied a marker of her own in the 61st minute, after receiving a cross from Aimee Luurtsema. The midfielder tapped it in to cap off Liberty's scoring on the afternoon. It was Short's third goal of her career.

Honoring Liberty's Alumni
The Liberty women's soccer team hosted its annual alumni event this past weekend. Thirteen alumni from around the country returned to campus for the event.

The festivities began with the alumni watching the Lady Flames gain a solid 5-0 victory over Howard on Friday night. The pre-game chapel service was led by 2009 team captains Rachel Wisehart and Heather Bowling, and the Lady Flames welcomed their former players back with a special halftime ceremony where they were recognized for their contributions to the program.

On Saturday, all attending alumni were given a tour of the new Luurtsema Center that was constructed this summer, including the new team locker room. After the tour, the current Lady Flames gathered around to cheer on the alumni as they played a match in Osborne Stadium.

Conference Season on the Way
Tabbed as the preseason conference favorite, the Lady Flames will begin its Big South slate against Charleston Southern on Oct. 2 at Buccaneer Field. Game time is slated for 3 p.m.