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Second-Half Goals Push Liberty Past Longwood, 2-0

October 16, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Sarah Gipe scored her team leading 11th goal of the season on Tuesday.

Freshmen Sarah Gipe and Hannah Doherty each notched a goal and the Lady Flames' defense pitched its second shutout in a row on Tuesday as the Liberty field hockey team defeated Longwood, 2-0.

Liberty's has now won two games in a row, with both wins coming against fellow NorPac opponents. The Lady Flames have also won seven out of their last eight contests to improve to 10-5 overall (3-1 NorPac) and claim second place in the NorPac East Division standings. With the loss, Longwood's overall record falls to 4-12 (3-2 NorPac).

The first half proved to be a defensive struggle. A couple of early shots by the Lancers were saved by Liberty goalie Mallory Cuccio, while the Lady Flames were denied on three penalty corner opportunities in the opening 13 minutes of the game.

Neither team was able to produce a goal in the opening 35 minutes as the score remained deadlocked at zero heading into the break. Longwood outshot the Lady Flames, 7-3, while Liberty earned five penalty corners to the Lancers' three in the opening half.

The Lady Flames broke the scoreless tie in the 43rd minute of play. Jordan Richardson received the ball on the right back line and fired a pass in front of the net to a waiting Gipe. The Lady Flames leading scorer deflected the Richardson pass into the cage for her 11th goal of the season and a 1-0 Liberty lead.

In the 50th minute, Longwood's Stacey de Grandhomme nearly knotted the game at one. Off of a penalty corner, de Grandhomme lined a shot toward the cage. The ball sailed past Cuccio, but Liberty's Natalie Barr swatted the would-be goal away for the defensive save, preserving the Lady Flames' lead.

Liberty added to its advantage with 6:08 remaining in the game. Abbey Basom worked the ball along the right back line and laced a centering pass in front of the Longwood goal. Doherty managed to get her stick on the ball and redirect the pass into the back of the cage for her fifth goal of the year. The New Jersey native's third goal in as many games pushed the Lady Flames' lead to 2-0, which is what it remained as the final buzzer sounded.

Cuccio recorded six saves, while earning her third shutout of the season for Liberty and helping the Lady Flames avenge an earlier loss to Longwood. Meg Mitchell finished the game with three saves for the Lancers.

For the game, Longwood held the advantage in shots, 13-8, while both teams finished the contest with six penalty corners.

Liberty returns to action this weekend with its final two home games of the year. On Friday, the Lady Flames battle NorPac opponent Appalachian State at 7 p.m., followed by a matchup with another NorPac foe, Davidson, on Sunday at 2 p.m.