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Liberty Tops Georgetown in Home Opener

September 1, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Helen Doolittle scored one of Liberty's four goals on the afternoon.

The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team jumped out to an early lead and didn't look back as they knocked off the Georgetown Hoyas, 4-1, in their home opener Saturday afternoon at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.

With its second straight win, Liberty improves to 2-1 on the season, while Georgetown falls to 1-2.

Liberty wasted no time in getting on the board as freshman Sarah Gipe notched her first career goal just three minutes into the contest. Gipe's initial shot attempt was blocked by Hoyas goalkeeper, Briana Pereira, but she was able to collect the rebound and punch it in to give Liberty the 1-0 advantage.

The Lady Flames' offense kept the pressure on the Georgetown defense throughout the first half. Liberty recorded nine more shot attempts, before Abbey Basom snuck one by Pereira from close range into the right corner of the cage to put Liberty up 2-0. The goal was Basom's second of the season.

The score remained 2-0 heading into the half. The defense for Liberty held the Hoyas to only five shots in the first half, while the Lady Flames' offense recorded 15 shots. Liberty goalkeeper Brooke Morley recorded two saves in the half, while Pereira stopped five for Georgetown. Both teams were awarded four penalty corners in the opening frame.

Georgetown's offense responded early in the second half. Off of a Liberty turnover, the Hoyas' Annie Wilson fed a pass across the field to Kimberly Keating, who was able to convert right in front of the goal to cut the lead in half at 2-1. Keating's goal was her second of the season.

Ten minutes later, Liberty pushed the lead back to two goals. Off of a penalty corner, the Lady Flames' Natalie Barr and Helen Doolittle both put shots on goal, but both were saved by Pereira. Gipe collected the rebound off of Doolittle's shot and knocked it in for her second goal of the contest, making the score 3-1.

A minute later, the Lady Flames were again able to convert off of a penalty corner attempt. Hannah Jones entered the ball into the top of the circle and Doolittle drove it into the back of the cage for her first goal of the season, giving Liberty the 4-1 lead, which is how it would end.

"Coming into the second half, I spoke to our defense about tightening up on penalty corners and tackling sooner," commented head coach Jodi Murphy. "They were able to make some adjustments in the second half that played a big factor in the final result."

The Lady Flames dominated the second half, recording 10 shots to Georgetown's three and 10 penalty corners, while the Hoyas had zero. For the match, Liberty totaled 25 shots, setting a single-game program record.

Morley finished the game with four saves, while Pereira stopped 10 for the Hoyas.

Gipe's two goals ties a single-game program record. Both Doolittle and Alex Hibbs also recorded two goals once each last season.

"Sarah Gipe had a strong performance today recording two goals," remarked Murphy. "She fought hard for loose balls and rebounds in the circle, which is something we worked on throughout practice this week. We are looking to build upon that tomorrow."

Liberty's four goals also ties the single-game scoring mark they set last season against Roanoke and Washington & Lee. The win is the Lady Flames' second home win in their brief history, with both wins coming by a final score of 4-1.  

"I am very pleased with how we started this game today," stated Murphy. "One of our goals heading into the game was a quick, early result. The girls took it to heart and put the pressure on early.

Liberty returns to action tomorrow at home against the Tribe of William & Mary. Game time is set for 2 p.m.