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11 Home Games Highlight 2012 Field Hockey Slate
Liberty Head Field Hockey Coach Jodi Murphy has announced her team's upcoming fall schedule, which is highlighted by 11 home games. After hitting the road for 13 games during its inaugural season, the team will enjoy the comforts of its fully completed facilities on Liberty's Campus East in 2012. Liberty utilized its new turf field last season, while the spring opening of the Campus East Field House finished off the complex.
"After a rigorous road schedule last fall, we are absolutely thrilled to play several games at home this season," remarked Murphy. "The newly completed complex will be a great site to host teams and families. I believe their time spent on Liberty's campus will be both hospitable and convenient. I am equally excited to establish traditions, tailgates, and most importantly, victories here at home."
The Lady Flames' season opener pits the squad against the first of four Atlantic 10 opponents on the season, as they meet with St. Joseph's on Aug. 24 in Philadelphia. Remaining in the Keystone State, Liberty will finish its first weekend of the season two days later by clashing with Patriot League member, Lehigh.
Liberty then returns to the Hill City for three consecutive games to open the month of September. On back-to-back days, Sept. 1 and 2, the Lady Flames host Georgetown and William & Mary. The homestand closes on Sept. 8, with Ivy League member Penn making the trek to Lynchburg.
The following pair of games provide the first conference matchups in the program's history, with road trips being made to face Commonwealth Northern Pacific Field Hockey Conference (NorPac) opponents Radford (Sept. 16) and Longwood (Sept. 18).
"After spent our inaugural season as an independent team, our new conference home with the NorPac is indeed a blessing," Murphy commented. "We are thankful to be aligned with the NorPac, as I believe they are a conference on the rise. Radford and Longwood are programs with longstanding success in the NorPac and will serve to be great competition and in-state rivals this fall and in the coming seasons."
A brief pair of home games close out the week, as the Lady Flames welcome Robert Morris (Sept. 21) and La Salle (Sept. 23) to Liberty Mountain. Liberty will look to avenge a 1-0 road loss from the Colonials last season. Robert Morris is one of five programs which remain on the schedule from Liberty's inaugural campaign.
Murphy's squad then travels to St. Louis for the second weekend-long road trip of the season. After facing the hosting St. Louis Billikens (Sept. 29) as its second consecutive A-10 opponent and third of the season, Liberty remains in the Gateway City for a neutral-site matchup with Missouri State on Sept. 30.
Next, Liberty will settle in for a six-game stretch of home games which spans the first three weekends in October. Nonconference foes Villanova and VCU begin the stretch on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, while the final four matches at home involve NorPac opponents.
Radford and Longwood will be back-to-back opponents for the second time on the season, Oct. 12 and Oct. 16, respectively, before Appalachian State and Davidson make their first trips to Lynchburg on Oct. 19 and Oct. 21.
The regular season wraps up the following weekend, with consecutive games against Appalachian State and Davidson once again, Oct. 26 and 28.
Finally, Liberty's membership with the NorPac allows the program the immediate opportunity to qualify for conference and NCAA postseason championships. Despite Liberty becoming the fifth member in the East Division, the NorPac Tournament Championship (Nov. 1-4) will maintain its recent format, being an eight-team bracket with first round division crossover games. All four of the West Division programs—California, Pacific, Stanford and UC Davis—will qualify for the tournament, but only the top four of five teams in the East Division will qualify to compete for the conference's spot in an NCAA play-in game.
After playing an interdivisional schedule in 2011, Murphy has compiled a 2012 slate fully comprised of NCAA Division I opponents.
"Coming off an interdivisional schedule last fall, our 2012 Division I schedule will promise to be a good challenge for us as we continue to build this program," stated Murphy. "Scheduling is a delicate piece of the puzzle and I am pleased to compete against many of these teams for the first time in program history. I hope we are able to create some long-lasting matchups for seasons to come. Overall, I have great faith that our second year will provide some exciting moments for this maturing squad, and will continue our work of laying the foundation of this program."