Under the direction of first-year head coach Kelly Nangle, the Liberty Lady Flames lacrosse team kicks off its 2014 season with a road contest at Richmond on Friday. The game is set to get under way at 4 p.m. at E. Claiborne Robins Stadium.
As the Lady Flames made preparations for their season opener, Nick Pierce of the Liberty Flames Sports Network caught up with Nangle and senior team captain Nina Dunay. The interviews focused on the team's work leading up to the game as well as some expectations and notes on the season.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Live stats will be available for tomorrow's game on LibertyFlames.com by clicking on the live stats link on the lacrosse schedule/results page. Live stats will be provided courtesy of the Richmond Athletic Public Relations department. Fans can also follow the game through periodic twitter updates from @LUGameday and @libertywlax. Series History Versus Richmond Liberty and Richmond will be meeting on the lacrosse field for the first time ever tomorrow. The Spiders are the first of four opponents from the Atlantic 10 conference on the Lady Flames schedule this season. Liberty is also scheduled to face George Washington (Feb. 26), George Mason (March 5) and La Salle (March 15) in 2014. All time, Liberty is 0-2 against members of the A-10. Richmond is 12-9 all-time against foes from the Big South.
Liberty in Season Openers The Lady Flames are 2-2 all-time in season opening contests. This is the second consecutive season Liberty will be starting the year on the road. Last year, the Lady Flames dominated Stetson, 16-3, in Deland, Fla.
Previewing the Lady Flames Coming off its best year in program history in 2013, Liberty enters its fifth season of competition as a program this spring. The Lady Flames, now under the direction of former NEC Coach of the Year Kelly Nangle, posted an 8-10 overall record and a 4-3 mark in the Big South. Liberty advanced to the inaugural Big South Lacrosse Championship as the No. 4 seed, but saw its season end in the semifinals to No. 2 seed Davidson.
The Lady Flames return eight of 12 starters from last year's squad, including all-league performers Dunay and Kristen Masullo and VaSID Lacrosse Rookie of the Year Kallie Britton. Liberty's top four scorers from last year, Sam Struss (40 points), Dunay (36 points), Britton (36 points) and Morgan Becker (36 points) are all back to provide the team with explosive scoring options on the offensive end of the field. Struss set the program's single-season assist record with 21, while Dunay had a team-high 29 goals.
A trio of seniors, Masullo, Jen Moyer and Jillian Krick, will look to anchor Liberty's defense this season. Masullo was named second-team all-conference in the Big South after posting a 10.78 goals-against average and a .449 save percentage in between the pipes. Moyer is the team's top returning draw control specialist after notching a team-high 51 draws a year ago.
Liberty welcomes 12 newcomers to this year's team. Freshmen Olivia Becker, Paige Britton, Courtney Brown, Dominique Dotson, Natalie Emery, Bailey Meador, Kathryn Milwicz, Michaela Rich, Casey Thate, Victoria Tickle and Faith Wells, join Rutgers transfer Colleen Ekert to form the Lady Flames' list of new faces.
Previewing the Spiders Richmond finished the 2013 season with a 7-10 overall record and finished third in the A-10 with a 4-3 mark. Seven of the Spiders 10 losses last season came against nationally ranked opponents. Richmond posted a 5-4 record at home last season. Richmond returns six starters and 17 letterwinners, but will have to replace their top three scorers from a year ago, including a pair of first-team all-league performers in Caitlin Fifield and Sam Stevenson.
Bailey Zerr is Richmond's top returning scorer from last season. The junior tallied 26 goals and an assist in 2013. On defense, the Spiders return 2013 first-team all-conference performer Taylor Blazer and second-team all-league player Tara Coyle to help anchor the backline. Both of the Spiders two goalkeepers from last year's team return this year.
Looking Ahead Liberty continues its three-game road stretch to start the season with a Feb. 15 clash against Vanderbilt.
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