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Liberty Takes Over First Place with 4-0 Win Over Davidson
The Liberty Lady Flames began the day in a tie with Davidson atop the NorPac East and finished it with sole possession of first place after their 4-0 win over the Wildcats on Sunday afternoon at the Liberty Field Hockey Field.
Liberty climbs to seven games over .500 on the season at 12-5 overall (5-1 NorPac). The Lady Flames have won four games in a row over NorPac opponents and nine out of their last 10 games overall. With the loss, Davidson falls to 7-10 overall (4-2 NorPac).
The Lady Flames jumped out of the gates quickly, scoring a mere 52 seconds into the opening stanza. Sarah Gipe worked the ball along the left back line and delivered a centering pass toward Hannah Doherty. The New Jersey native dove toward the ball and redirected it into the back of the cage for her sixth goal of the season and an early 1-0 Liberty lead.
Liberty added to its lead in the 12th minute off of a penalty corner opportunity. Hannah Jones inserted the ball into the top of the circle to Natalie Barr. The freshman struck the ball to Abbey Basom, who ripped a shot past Davidson goalie Sarah Fisher into the goal for a 2-0 Liberty advantage.
The Liberty defense held the Wildcats without a shot for the remainder of the half, while the Lady Flames tallied four more shots, but weren't able to add to their lead.
The Lady Flames took a 2-0 lead into the half. Liberty outshot Davison, 8-2, and earned three penalty corners to the Wildcats' zero during the game's first 35 minutes.
During the opening 10:35 of the second half, Liberty goalie Mallory Cuccio denied the Wildcats on three different occasions to preserve the Lady Flames' 2-0 lead.
In the 50th minute, Davidson forced its third penalty corner of the half. The Wildcats couldn't convert on the play and Liberty pushed the ball quickly back up the field for a three-on-two breakaway. Jordan Richardson dribbled up the right side of the field and, once inside the circle, laced a pass across to Basom. The Keystone State connection proved successful as Basom buried the pass into the cage for her seventh goal of the year and second of the afternoon.
Liberty tacked on its fourth goal of the contest 2:21 later. Richardson once again fired a pass toward the front of the goal. Barr emerged from heavy traffic with the ball and squirted it by Fisher into the back of the cage. Barr's goal was her fifth in the last two games and 11th on the season.
Cuccio tallied two more saves in the second half for the Lady Flames and Barr recorded her fourth defensive save of the year with 27 seconds remaining in the game to preserve the 4-0 shutout.
The Lady Flames held the overall advantage in shots, 14-9, while both teams earned five penalty corners.
Cuccio picked up five saves, while earning her fourth shutout of the season for Liberty. Davidson's Fisher finished with five saves for the contest.
It was the first career two-goal game for Basom and the second career multi-assist game for Richardson.
Sunday's game was the final home game of the season for the Lady Flames. Emily Dinsmore, the team's lone senior, was honored prior to the start of the match. She then played an important role in Liberty's fifth shutout of the season.
Liberty takes to the road for its final two regular-season contests this weekend. On Friday, the Lady Flames will battle Appalachian State at 4 p.m., before finishing the year at Davidson on Sunday at 1 p.m.