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Lady Flames Down La Salle, 3-1
A pair of goals by Sarah Gipe set the tone early for the Liberty Lady Flames as they defeated the La Salle Explorers, 3-1, on Sunday at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
Liberty has now won three out of its last four contests to improve its overall record to 5-4 (1-1 NorPac), while the Explorers drop to 3-7 (0-0 A-10).
The Lady Flames jumped on top of La Salle just 2:45 into the first half. Ashlee Krulock dribbled the ball down the right side of the field for Liberty, before finding a cutting Gipe inside the circle. Gipe collected the pass and laced it past Explorers goalie Lisa Shaffer to give the Lady Flames the early 1-0 advantage.
Just over one minute later, Liberty found itself with a breakaway opportunity. Hannah Doherty dribbled the ball towards the goal, eluded a sliding Shaffer and fed the ball to Gipe in front of the cage. Gipe gathered the feed from Doherty and tapped the ball into the open goal to put Liberty on top, 2-0.
Liberty held the 2-0 lead heading into the half. The Lady Flames tallied seven first-half shots to La Salle's four, while the two teams earned two penalty corners each in the opening frame.
The Lady Flames came out strong in the second half on both sides of the ball. Liberty's defense did not allow a second-half shot until the 52nd minute, while the Lady Flames' offense notched seven shots and earned three penalty corners during that time span.
With 16:31 left in the game, a penalty by La Salle set Liberty up for a penalty stroke opportunity. Natalie Barr took the stroke for the Lady Flames and flicked it into the top right corner of the cage for her fifth goal of the season and a 3-0 Liberty lead.
The Explorers avoided the shutout as Olivia Shoemaker flicked the ball past Liberty goalie Brooke Morley before colliding with Morley, cutting the deficit to 3-1. Shoemaker's fourth goal of the season came with just 27 seconds remaining in the contest. The game remained 3-1 as the final seconds ticked toward zero.
For the contest, Liberty outshot the Explorers, 21-9, and earned six penalty corners to La Salle's four. Morley stopped seven shots, while Shaffer notched 12 saves.
With her two goals on the game, Gipe matched Helen Doolittle's program record for goals in a season with seven. It was also the freshman's second two-goal performance of the season.
Liberty improves its home record to 3-2 on the season.
Liberty takes its two-game winning streak to St. Louis, Mo. for an upcoming pair of weekend matchups. The Lady Flames will battle the Saint Louis Bilikens on Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern, before playing a neutral site game against Missouri State at Saint Louis, Sunday at noon.