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Field Hockey Falls in Penalty Strokes to Close Season
The Liberty field hockey team concluded its inaugural season, Sunday, falling 2-1 to Lindenwood in a game which needed penalty strokes to decide a victor.
A last-minute goal from the Lions moved the game into overtime, but an extra 30 minutes of play still found the teams all square, 1-1. Lindenwood then converted on three of its first four strokes, while the Lions' goalkeeper Samantha Brown denied the Lady Flames on three of their five attempts to claim the win.
Liberty concludes the year with a 6-11 mark, with the loss also being the team's first neutral-site defeat (4-1). Lindenwood secured its second victory of the year with the win.
While Lindenwood struck the first shot of the afternoon, it would be their only attempt to score in the first half. Liberty held a distinct offensive advantage, firing 12 shots in the opening 35 minutes of action, but only found the cage once. The Lady Flames' score came at the 21:30 mark, on a penalty stroke from freshman Alex Hibbs.
Brown kept Lindenwood in position by making seven saves during the first half of action.
Liberty's offensive effort was slowed in the second half, with the Lady Flames only able to post three shots. Brown once again kept her team within striking distance, fending off two shots on goal.
Lindenwood's lone shot of the second half turned out to be the equalizer, as Julianne Sutton found the back of the net with just eight seconds remaining in the contest, forcing Liberty into its first overtime game in program history.
Now with momentum, the Lions picked up the pace in the first extra frame, outshooting Liberty by a 4-3 margin, with each shot being on goal. Liberty goalkeeper Ann Jefferis denied each attempt. Helen Doolittle nearly wrapped up the game in the 81st minute, but her shot struck the post, leaving the game tied and forcing a final 15-minute period.
In the second overtime, Liberty earned five penalty corners and posted nine shots, but still could not find the goal. Brown continued to stand strong in the cage for the Lions, posting seven saves in the final span of game play.
Through the 100 minutes of play, Liberty held a decisive advantage in both penalty corners (22-5) and shots (22-6), but could not convert the opportunities into goals.
Forced into penalty strokes, Liberty capitalized on its first two attempts from Hibbs and Morgan DeMann. However, the next three attempts were denied by Brown.
Jefferis saved the Lions' first attempt, but three stroke conversions led Lindenwood to victory, holding a 3-2 edge in penalty strokes.
Jefferis (6-11) and Brown (2-13) each played the entire 100 minutes in the cage, ending with five and 13 saves, respectively, for the afternoon.