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Lacrosse Battles Back, Falls to Virginia Tech, 13-8
The Lady Flames closed the final seven minutes on a 4-1 run, but a 7-0 streak by the host Hokies spanning over both halves gave Virginia Tech a big enough advantage to hold on for a 13-8 win, Tuesday, at Thompson Field.
Liberty drops to 2-7 for the season, while Virginia Tech improves to 7-4. Liberty goalkeeper Kristen Masullo maintains the same record, playing 45 minutes, and making 11 saves. Freshman Kristin Boland finished the final 15 minutes in net for Liberty, making one save. Alex Gale is credited with the victory, to also own the same mark as her team. The Virginia Tech goalkeeper was relieved by Alexis Carey with approximately six minutes remaining in the game.
Morgan Becker tallied four scores on the day, followed by Jen Moyer with two. Kristin Crowley and Mikayla Henry each added one apiece to round out scoring. Crowley also added an assist, while Cammille Little and Amber Nichols each added a helper.
The Hokies were led by Ryan Rotanz with four goals. Brooke Martin and Morgan Widlake added three and two, and four others chipped in one goal. Eight of Virginia Tech's goals were made on an assist.
While the Hokies struck first, 1:32 into the game, Liberty responded with a pair of goals in the fifth minute of play. Moyer knotted the contest, breaking free on a quick clear for the Lady Flames to convert the transition score. Becker then gave the visitors their sole lead of the game, 2-1, finding the back of the net on a free-position shot at 25:08.
The Hokies netted the next two goals, to gain back a 3-2 lead, but Becker scored again to tie the contest for the third time in the half. A Virginia Tech foul set up the Lady Flames' score. With an opening through the middle of the fan, Becker was fed quickly by Little on the restart, as Becker found the back of the net at the 19:53 mark.
Widlake and Rosebro provided the next two goals for Virginia Tech, coming at the 19:34 and 17:54 marks in the game. Moyer then tacked on the Lady Flames' second free-position goal of the half to cut the deficit to one, 5-4.
Defense highlighted the remaining time in the opening half, as Liberty held Virginia Tech scoreless for over 17 minutes of game action. The Hokies scored with just 42 seconds left in the half, to end their drought.
Masullo made eight saves for Liberty in the first half and helped the team hold Virginia Tech scoreless on free-position attempts, 0-4.
The Hokies displayed their defense to open the second stanza, holding Liberty scoreless until just 7:08 remained in the game. During the span, the hosts converted six goals, including three free-position shots. Rotanz tallied three of her four markers during the stretch, capped by a goal at 8:19 to go up 12-4.
Henry halted the 7-0 Hokie run with 7:08 left in the game, as she tallied the first goal of her collegiate career. The freshman charged from behind the goal to the middle of the fan, rocketing a shot to find the back of the net.
One of the Hokies' leading scorers, Jessica Nonn, extended the lead back to eight, 13-5, to add the final score of the game for the hosts.
Liberty's leading scorers then reeled off the final three goals of the game en route to the 13-8 final. Becker scored her 23rd and 24th of the season, while Crowley netted her 27th goal for 2012.
Liberty fell by the slim five-goal margin, despite being outshot 30-17 on the evening. The Hokies converted just 4-of-11 free-position shots, with all four conversions coming in the second half. Liberty was effective from eight meters out, going 2-for-4 on its own free-position shots.
The Lady Flames committed a season-low 10 turnovers, while Virginia Tech just had five on the evening. Both teams transitioned to their offenses effeciently, with Liberty going 12-for-13 on clear attempts and Virginia Tech being successful on all 14 of their tries.
Liberty claimed the draw control battle, outdoing the Hokies 10-13. Becker grabbed a game-high four draw controls. Virginia Tech held a slim margin in ground balls, 18-14. Jen Freymond and Amber Nichols each picked up three ground balls, tying for the game-high with Virginia Tech's Meg Bartley.
The Lady Flames begin National Lacrosse Conference competition this weekend with a pair of road games. A Friday matchup with Detroit is the team's first game, while they wrap up the weekend against Howard on Sunday.