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Lady Flames to Host Liberty Invitational this Weekend
The Liberty women's soccer team (0-1-1) returns to Osborne Stadium on Friday, hosting Brown at 7 p.m. The contest is a part of the Liberty Invitational and will serve as Game No. 2 of a double-header that also features a matchup between Coastal Carolina and Valparaiso at 4p.m.
The Lady Flames will conclude the tournament on Sunday, taking on Valparaiso at 2 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 panel.
Liberty Invitational at a Glance
This weekend's event marks the first time the Liberty women's soccer program has ever hosted a tournament at Osborne Stadium. The Liberty Invitational features three other teams including the Lady Flames – fellow Big South member Coastal Carolina, Brown and Valparaiso. The tournament schedule is as follows:
Friday, Sept. 2
Game 1: Coastal Carolina vs. Valparaiso - 4 p.m.
Game 2: Liberty vs. Brown - 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 4
Game 3: Brown vs. Coastal Carolina - Noon
Game 4: Liberty vs. Valparaiso - 2 p.m.
A Look at Brown
Friday's matchup will be the first-ever meeting between Liberty and Brown. The contest will also serve as the Bears season opener. Brown finished the 2010 campaign with a 7-6-4 record and a 1-4-2 posting in Ivy League play.
A Look at Valparaiso
The Crusaders enter this weekend's tournament with a 1-2 record, dropping contests to Morehead State (1-0, Aug. 19) and Evansville (1-0, Aug. 28), while earning a victory over IPFW (4-2, Aug. 21).
Prior to its contest with Liberty, Valparaiso will kick off the Liberty Invitational against Big South member Coastal Carolina, Friday at 4 p.m.
Looking Ahead: Coastal Carolina
Liberty will not go head-to-head with Coastal Carolina this weekend. The Chanticleers, 0-2-1, will return to Osborne Stadium on Sept. 29 to take on the Lady Flames at 7 p.m.
Looking to avenge last season's 1-0 loss to Longwood, the Liberty women's soccer team hosted the Lancers under the Osborne Stadium lights, Monday night. Unfortunately for the Lady Flames, they were unable to garner their first win of the season, as the contest ended in a 1-1 tie.
Silvia Betancourt netted Liberty's lone goal, while Kelsey McDonald posted the lone Longwood tally. With the stalemate, Liberty now leads the all-time series, 6-3-2.
Hain at the Helm
Liberty Head Women's Soccer Coach Jessica Hain enters her fourth season at the program's helm. In her second season with the Lady Flames, Hain garnered top conference honors, as she 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.
Liberty returns eight of its 11 starters from its 2010 squad. Among those returning for the Lady Flames include:
Aimee Luurtsema (All-Conference Second Team, VaSID All-State First Team)
Ariana Espinoza (All-Conference Second Team)
Madison Short (All-Conference Second Team, All-Tournament Team)
Back in the Net
Goalkeeper Karen Blocker returns to the net for the Lady Flames after missing the entire 2010 season due to injury.
A 2009 Big South first team all-conference selection, Blocker started 17 games in the Liberty net two seasons ago. Before suffering a season-ending forearm injury in Liberty's game against Radford (Oct. 25, 2009), Blocker posted a 1.16 goals against average and a .845 save percentage in 1320.53 minutes of action.
Blocker also racked up 93 saves on the year and went nearly 500 minutes in her final six games without allowing a single goal. However, due to the severity of her injury, Blocker missed the entire 2010 season. The redshirt junior netminder returns to the field fifth all-time in school history with 162 career saves.
Liberty has been picked to finish fifth in the 2011 Big South Conference preseason women's soccer poll, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
Two-time defending Big South champion High Point claimed the top spot in the poll, garnering five first-place votes and 108 total points. Radford was a close second, with a pair of first-place votes and 102 points.
The Panthers and Highlanders swept the preseason individual honors, as High Point forward Kelli Joline was voted Preseason Attacking Player of the Year and Radford goalkeeper Che' Brown was named Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Liberty senior Aimee Luurtsema was just one point behind Joline in the voting for Preseason Attacking Player of the Year, after scoring a team-high 13 goals in 2010.
2011 Big South Conference Preseason Women's Soccer Poll
Team (First-Place Votes) – Points
1) High Point (5) – 108
2) Radford (2) – 102
3) Charleston Southern (2) – 90
4) Coastal Carolina (1) – 80
5) Liberty – 75
6T) Campbell – 72
6T) Winthrop (1) – 72
8) Gardner-Webb – 59
9) VMI – 25
10) UNC Asheville – 23
11) Presbyterian College – 20