Ann Jefferis notched 10 saves against No. 4 Virginia on Sunday afternoon.
The Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team went toe-to-toe with No. 4 Virginia on Sunday afternoon at Liberty Field Hockey Field. Despite holding the Cavaliers below their season average in shots and penalty corners, the Lady Flames fell to the visitors, 2-0, on a pair of second-half goals by Elly Buckley.
The loss drops Liberty's overall record to 5-4 this season. The defeat also ends the Lady Flames six-game home winning streak. Virginia improves its overall mark to 11-1.
The opening 35 minutes of the contest proved to be a defensive struggle, with both teams combining for just seven shots in the opening frame.
After an early penalty corner and shot attempt for the Cavaliers, the Lady Flames answered with a penalty corner of their own just 3:30 into the match. Off of the corner attempt, Liberty's Natalie Barr ripped a shot on cage, but Virginia goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone notched a save to keep the Lady Flames off of the scoreboard.
Liberty did not register another shot until the 34th minute of play. Bethany Barr made a run up the left side of the field and lined the ball toward the goal. Jordan Richardson lunged after the shot, but the ball sailed just beyond her stick wide of the cage.
Defensively, goalkeeper Ann Jefferis and the rest of the Lady Flames defense were up to the challenge against the fourth-ranked Cavaliers. Liberty held the visitors to just five first-half shots, which was half of their season average coming into the contest. Jefferis turned away all five shots, sending the game into the halftime break scoreless.
Liberty's offense picked up momentum early in the second stanza. The Lady Flames notched four shots in the opening 15 minutes of the half, but were unable to push in the game's first score.
In the 58th minute, Virginia's Buckley broke the scoreless tie, notching the first of her two goals of the game. The Cavaliers' leading scorer collected the rebound off of her own shot and tapped it into the cage, giving Virginia the 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Flames came back with a shot by Erin Dombach and another shot by Natalie Barr off of a penalty corner attempt, but could not even the score.
After a timeout with 5:03 remaining in regulation, Liberty pulled Jefferis in favor of an 11th field player. After Jefferis was removed, Virginia was awarded a penalty corner and Buckley ripped it through the Lady Flames' defense and into the back of the goal. Buckley's 15th goal of the season gave the Cavaliers the final 2-0 margin of victory.
For the contest, Virginia held the slight edge in shots, 14-10, while Liberty forced seven penalty corners to the Cavaliers' four.
Jefferis finished the contest with 10 saves in goal for the Lady Flames. Johnstone notched just one save for Virginia en route to her 11th win of the season.
Liberty continues its three-game homestand on Saturday against Davidson. The Lady Flames' NorPac opener against the Wildcats is scheduled to begin at noon at Liberty Field Hockey Field. For a more in-depth look at the Lady Flames' field hockey program, including postgame interviews and video packages, follow the team on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.