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Rider Blanks Liberty, 4-0
The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team dropped a 4-0 contest, Monday afternoon, as defending Northeast Conference champion Rider posted two goals in each half of play at Liberty's Multi-sport complex. Rider controlled the ball throughout the afternoon, holding distinct advantages in both shots and penalty corners.
The Broncs improve their record to 4-0 on the young season, while Liberty drops to 0-2.
The first goal of the contest came after nearly six minutes of game action, when Gabby Burgo fired a shot which was deflected by a defender's stick into the upper corner of the cage. Burgo's second goal of the season was assisted by Alicia Govannicci.
Rider continued to pressure the Liberty defense and finished the day outshooting the hosts, 37-2. However, junior goalkeeper Ann Jefferis produced another outstanding performance in the cage for the Lady Flames, blocking away 15 shots on the afternoon.
"Our defense is so strong. We get a lot of shots against us, but they really can sustain. But we just have to take advantage of the attack opportunities that we earn as well. Overall I was pleased, though," commented Liberty head coach Jodi Murphy after the contest.
"Our defense is learning more and more about how to defend above our circle, so we don't let them in. If we can learn to defend above the circle and not let them get in and get those opportunities, we'll be far better off going forward."
Helen Doolittle was able to send a shot on goal just after 15 minutes of play had elapsed, but Broncs goaltender Rebecca Lotito swiftly cleared away the attempt.
The Broncs sent in their second goal of the day as a result of a penalty corner, with Eefje Kok tallying her third goal of the season. Off the entrance from Dezarae Fillmyer, Virginia Egusquiza served as the stick stop to set up Kok's score.
Liberty's defense then held Rider scoreless for the remainder of the first half, and through the opening 17 minutes in the second half, for a stretch of nearly 35 minutes.
Taylor Swalm managed to fire a shot at the Rider goal keeper 12 minutes into the second half, but was denied the score.
Rider's team point leaders entering the contest then provided the final two goals of the game, with Sandra Penas and Egusquiza stretching the score to 4-0.
Penas found the back of the cage with 18 minutes remaining in the game, as she intercepted a pass when the Lady Flames attempted to move down field. Breaking free, Penas struck from the left portion of the circle.
Egusquiza capped the scoring in the match nearly nine minutes later, scoring on a penalty stroke.
Rider also had more penalty corner opportunities on the afternoon, taking the count 18-1 over the Lady Flames.
Despite giving up four scores on the day, Liberty held the Broncs under their season average of six goals per game. This includes contests with nine and seven goals, respectively.
"This was tougher than the score indicated," said Rider head coach Lori Hussong on GoBroncs.com. "Liberty has some quality players and they played us tough. It was a battle and their kids fought until the end."
The Lady Flames will have the remainder of the week to prepare for their first-ever road trip this weekend at Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. Liberty is slated to face Marywood at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, before matching up against Christopher Newport at 4 p.m. on Sunday.