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Late Goal from Batdorf Lifts Lady Flames to Victory
A late goal by Liberty freshman Abby Batdorf lifted the Lady Flames to a 2-1 victory over Christopher Newport, Sunday afternoon, as Liberty field hockey capped off the weekend with its second win at Mary Washington's invitational tournament.
"Our main goal heading into this weekend was to earn our first win in program history. These ladies exceeded my expectations and put together two solid 70-minute games," stated head coach Jodi Murphy after the victory.
The win levels Liberty at 2-2 in its inaugural season. Meanwhile, the Captains, who are currently ranked No. 12 in the 2011 Kookaburra/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III Preseason Poll, also move to 2-2 with the defeat.
While Christopher Newport was able to post four shots in a three minute span early in the first half, Liberty was the first to capitalize on an opportunity.
Two freshmen scored the first points of their career on the play for the Lady Flames, as Alex Hibbs found Mercedes Cox for the goal at the 23:03 mark. The play resulted from Lindsey Hanks moving up the right side and finding Hibbs, who then connected with Cox on the back post for the score.
Liberty's defense held the Captains scoreless through the remainder of the first half, including a pair of saves from goalkeeper Ann Jefferis.
Christopher Newport continued its attack after the break and leveled the contest just over seven minutes into the second half. Caitlin Cahill found the cage for the Captains, scoring her second goal of the season off an assist from Marlene Lichty.
The final 28 minutes of action proved to be a defensive battle, with only five shots being struck between both teams. Christopher Newport would take four of those shots, but Liberty would only need one more attempt.
Batdorf, who substituted in at the 62-minute mark, quickly made a game-changing impact for the Lady Flames. After finding a lane in the defense, the Pottstown, Pa., native found the back of the cage for her first career goal with about five minutes remaining in the contest.
"Abby provided a huge spark for us late in the second half when she came in. She responded very well to some tough coaching this week and made the adjustments we asked of her," commented Murphy.
Christopher Newport attempted a final penalty corner roughly a minute later, but Liberty held on for its second win in as many days.
"This win against Christopher Newport was not an easy one. They're a very good field hockey team and we truly had to grit this one out to the final seconds," stated Murphy.
The Lady Flames were able to secure the win despite being outshot 13-5 in the contest, but held the advantage in penalty corners, 17-12. Defense, once again, played a key role for Liberty with a variety of players having a strong impact.
"Meghan Johnson and Emily Dinsmore each made some big plays for us, stalling several breakaway opportunities by the speedy Christopher Newport attack," recalled Murphy.
Jefferis finished the game with five saves on the afternoon, and is now averaging 9.25 saves per game while tending the cage for Liberty.
Looking forward to the team's next competition, Murphy stated, "We have a short week to prepare for Lindenwood and Robert Morris. Our focus needs to sustain as we progress game by game."
Liberty will travel to Moon Township, Pa., for a pair of games next weekend. They face Division II opponent Lindenwood Friday at 3:30 p.m., before finishing up against Robert Morris at noon, next Sunday.