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Late Doolittle Goal Lifts Field Hockey to Victory
The Liberty field hockey team found itself trailing 1-0 in the second half, but goals from Amanda Marroquin and Helen Doolittle propelled the Lady Flames to a 2-1 victory over Houghton, Saturday afternoon. The neutral-site contest was played at Christopher Newport in Newport News, Va.
The win improves Liberty's record to 6-10 overall and 4-0 in neutral-site games, with just one game remaining in the season. The win is also the team's first come-from-behind victory. Houghton falls to 9-7 with the loss.
Despite facing multiple scoring chances in the first half, neither Liberty nor Houghton managed to find the back of the cage.
Liberty held an overwhelming 10-0 margin in penalty corner opportunities, and posted seven shots in the opening 35 minutes of play. Four of the Lady Flames' shots were on-target, but the Highlanders' goalkeeper, Hillery Duman made four saves to keep the game scoreless.
Houghton fired two shots in a 12-second span in the middle of the first half, but Liberty goalkeeper Ann Jefferis blocked each shot away.
Houghton posted the first goal of the game in the 41st minute of action, striking quickly in the second half. Hannah Zgrablich notched her second goal of the season, as she was assisted by Maesa Phongsamouth.
Liberty did not take long to respond to its one-goal deficit. Off a pass from Abby Batdorf, Marroquin knotted the game once again, 1-1, at the 46:04 mark. The goal was Marroquin's second of the year, while the assist was Batdorf's third of the season.
Houghton attempted one more shot on Liberty's goal, but Jefferis posted her fifth and final save of the afternoon on the Marissa Meassick shot.
Liberty's offense pressured Houghton in stretches during the closing 15 minutes of game action. In a 22-second span, Liberty fired off three consecutive shots, but Duman kept the game all-square, denying the Lady Flames a score.
The Lady Flames' final push came just in time, as back-to-back penalty corners led to the final goal of the game.
With less than a minute remaining in regulation, Liberty leading scorer Doolittle posted her seventh goal of the season. Serving as the helper was Jordan Richardson, who tallied her team-leading fourth assist of the year.
While the game was tightly contested in score, Liberty was dominant in the overall offensive statistics. The Lady Flames owned a 20-4 advantage in penalty corner opportunities, and posted 10 more shots than their opponents, holding a 16-6 edge.
Jefferis' five saves continues to raise her season total, which now stands at 113, while her record mirrors the team's 6-10 mark. Duman played all 70 minutes in the cage for Houghton, saving 10 shots to mark the most saves by an opposing goalkeeper this season.
Liberty will conclude its inaugural season tomorrow morning, meeting Lindenwood at 11 a.m., in another contest played at Christopher Newport. The Lady Flames defeated the Lions 3-0 earlier this season (Sept. 16).