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Liberty Field Hockey Rallies Late but Falls in Season Opener
A second-half goal by Liberty freshman Abbey Basom was not quite enough as the Saint Joseph's Hawks held off the Lady Flames, 2-1, Friday afternoon at Ellen Ryan Field in the 2012 field hockey season opener for both teams.
The Liberty defense held strong throughout the early part of the first half, turning away the Hawks on multiple scoring opportunities. A save by Liberty goalkeeper Brooke Morley midway through the opening frame kept the game knotted at 0-0.
Beginning at the 17:09 mark of the first half, Saint Joseph's was awarded three consecutive penalty corners. The Hawks capitalized on the third opportunity at the 16:09 mark as Rachel Brosious deflected a Nicole Gerdes pass into the back of the cage to put Saint Joseph's up 1-0.
The Lady Flames answered with a couple of shot attempts of their own, including one off of a penalty corner, but were unable to put it past the Saint Joseph's goalie.
The Hawks were awarded a penalty shot with eight minutes remaining in the half and Jordan Martin was able to sneak it by a diving Morley into the goal to make the score 2-0. The score remained 2-0 in favor of the home team heading in to the half.
The first half saw the Hawks hold a 6-3 advantage in shots on goal and a 5-1 advantage on penalty corners.
Liberty's defense once again stepped up to start the second half, stopping the Hawks on multiple occasions. Morley blocked away two would-be goals to keep the deficit at only two goals.
The Lady Flames' offense began to apply more pressure on the home team midway through the second half. Off of a penalty corner at the 22:49 mark, Liberty's Helen Doolittle and Basom both had shots turned away by the Saint Joseph's keeper, Kate Mitchell.
Liberty finally broke through against the Hawks' defense with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game, as Basom was able to score on a long shot from the top of the circle to cut the lead in half.
Despite a few more opportunities, Liberty was not able to put the ball in the goal and the score remained 2-1 until the final horn sounded.
Liberty did outshoot the Hawks in the second half, recording seven shots on goal to Saint Joseph's six. The Lady Flames also held the advantage in penalty corners, 3-2, in the second half.
For the game, Liberty finished with 10 shots and four penalty corners and the Hawks ended up with 12 shots and seven penalty corners. Both Morley and Mitchell finished the game with four saves each.
"I was very pleased with the team, with this being our first game in just our second season," commented Liberty head coach Jodi Murphy. "The girls came out disciplined and they stuck to the game plan. I was incredibly impressed with our second half as we dominated play and were able to keep possession. This is a good step for us as we prepare for Lehigh on Sunday."
Liberty continues its opening weekend of action on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, Pa.