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Jefferis Records 15 Saves in 5-0 Defeat to Wake Forest
A strong defensive first half kept the Liberty field hockey team within striking distance of visiting Wake Forest, Friday evening, but four second-half goals led the Demon Deacons to a 5-0 victory. Junior goalkeeper Ann Jefferis once again proved impressive in the cage, saving 15 shots, which ties the program record for saves in a game.
Liberty falls to 5-7 on the year, while Wake Forest improves to 6-8, with just three games remaining on its regular season schedule.
The Demon Deacons came out firing in the opening half, as they posted 21 shots in the first 35 minutes alone. Liberty's defense proved up to the early challenge, however, with Jefferis keeping the visitors scoreless on their first 13 shots on goal.
Wake Forest then posted the first tally of the game in the 29th minute, which came after a penalty corner. Lauren Greenwald struck a shot on goal, with Jefferis making the save, but Liberty was not able to clear the ball. Jess McFadyen then found the back of the cage amongst a crowd of defenders.
The Deacs posted two more shots in the remaining minutes of the opening half, but came up empty. Jefferis made 13 saves in the first 35-minutes, her highest total in one half this season.
The second half provided much of the same action, but Wake managed to convert on four goals, including a pair of redirected shots.
Lizzie Rae tacked on the second goal of the game at the 40:26 mark after finding herself open on the right half of the circle. With the ball quickly coming across the circle, a shifting Jefferis was unable to block away the shot.
Liberty earned its first penalty corner opportunity in the 43rd minute of action, and posted its sole shot of the game on the ensuing play. Jordan Richardson served as the inserting player, with Liberty wrapping the ball all the way around the circle and back to Richardson. She got the shot off, but a Wake Forest defender blocked it away to keep the hosts scoreless.
Wake's leading scorer Kari Walkley then made the Demon Deacon's advantage 3-0 in the 49th minute. Walkley fired the ball into the goal from the right post after teammate Christine Conroe provided the set-up pass from the middle of the circle.
Rae then added her second score of the evening to cap off a strong opening 15 minutes in the second half from the visitors. Coming just before the 50th minute of play, Rae redirected a shot in the middle of the circle which came from Anna Kozniuk. Kozniuk fired off the shot resulting from a penalty corner, with her teammate stepping in to get the score.
Jillian Anzalone posted the final goal of the match at the 56:08 mark, scoring on another deflected shot. Taylor Rhea set up the score this time, as she made the initial shot attempt.
Liberty's Jefferis tacked on two second-half saves to finish the contest with 15 saves, tying the program record. Jefferis also holds the other 15-save performance, coming in the Lady Flames' game against Rider this season.
"I'm really proud of Ann," stated head coach Jodi Murphy. "She really stepped up today and was a big factor along with our entire defensive unit. As many penalty corners as they had, we really denied a lot of shot opportunities for them."
Wake Forest completed the game holding a decisive advantage in shots (31-1) and penalty corners (14-1). Picking up the win in the cage for the Demon Deacons was Bronwen Gainsford, who is credited with her first win of the season and third of her career.
"Being that it's an ACC team that we added late, I'm so humbled by the girls' spirit," commented Murphy. "They had a spirit of courage and boldness and were excited from the first day we announced this game. They stood up to the challenge and played an amazing 70-minutes of defense."
Liberty now hits the road for its remaining six contests, with the next four being against NCAA Division I programs. The Lady Flames will face Davidson, Sunday, in a game which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Live stats will be provided through a link on LibertyFlames.com.