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Second Half Surge Propels CCSU over Liberty
Despite a fast start against Central Connecticut State, the Liberty women's lacrosse team suffered its third straight defeat, falling 19-10 at Arute Field, Tuesday afternoon.
The Lady Flames are now 1-3 on the season, while Central Connecticut State improves to 4-2.
Liberty posted six goals in the opening 24:21 of the contest to a hold a 6-5 lead. However, the Blue Devils put together a 12-0 run beginning at the close of the first period, and allowed zero goals in the opening 19 minutes of the second en route to the decision.
Freshman Karis Walborn led the Lady Flames with five goals in the contest, followed by Nina Dunay with two. Junior captain Kristin Crowley, Candice Parsons and Anna Starling each chipped in a goal, apiece.
Mackenzy Ryan paced the Blue Devil offense with five goals, while Michele Conway added four and Ashley Mara finished with a hat trick.
Walborn put Liberty on the board first, sinking a shot at 27:47 in the opening period. Conway evened the odds with a goal of her own just 11 seconds later to keep pace with the Lady Flames. Walborn made sure the tie did not last long, placing another shot in the Blue Devil net 25 ticks later. The freshman attacker then tacked on another goal at 23:55 for the early hat trick and the 3-1 Liberty lead.
Mara cut the Lady Flames' advantage to one with a marker following a Meghan McCurry pass at 21:45. Walborn continued her personal hot streak with her fourth unassisted tally of the game nearly two minutes later. Following another Blue Devil's goal, Crowley became the second Lady Flame to light up the scoreboard, as she found the back of the net at 17:33 to regain the two-goal edge, 5-3.
Central Connecticut State erased the Liberty lead, connecting on back-to-back tallies to knot the contest, 5-5, with 11:37 remaining in the period. Five minutes later, Liberty regained the advantage, when Candice Parsons received a pass from Crowley and finished the play from the top of the circle. Parsons' tally marks her first goal since March 6, 2010, when she scored in Liberty's first program win, a 17-16 overtime victory over Howard.
With the Blue Devils having a man-up advantage following a penalty, Ryan tied the contest once again, firing a shot into the Liberty goal from the eight meter-mark. Before the penalty time elapsed, the home team snuck in another goal with 46 ticks left to gain the lead. The Blue Devils closed out the period with free position goal in the final 13 seconds, resulting in an 8-6 lead for the NEC member at halftime.
Still holding the man-up advantage in the early moments of the second period, Conway netted another free position marker to extend the lead to three. With 26:51 remaining in the contest, Conway picked up an assist off a pass to Ryan to put the Blue Devils up by four, 10-6. After Liberty required another penalty near the 25-minute mark, Central Connecticut State widened the gap with two more man-up goals to hold a 12-6 lead at 22:16.
The Blue Devils were not done, as they netted five additional unanswered goals to cap off a 12-0 run and take a 17-6 lead at 12:16.
Nina Dunay halted the Blue Devils' scoring streak with 10:43 left to play, placing the ball past the Central Connecticut State goalkeeper for her 12th goal of the season. After a pair of Central Connecticut State markers, Walborn, Dunay and Starling closed out the contest with a goal apiece for the 19-10 final.
Liberty goalkeeper Kristin Masullo played in between the pipes for 48:15, recording 19 saves. Blaire Barnhart came in for the final 11:45, making four stops. Erin DeLancey manned the net at the opposite end the entire 60 minutes, finishing with seven saves.
Liberty returns to Osborne Stadium next Tuesday to host Fresno State. The contest marks the first of a four-game homestand. The opening draw between the Lady Flames and the Bulldogs is set for 3 p.m.